By Joseph J. Kolb
ALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday released a minor league player who was involved in a dugout fight and bit off part of a high-profile Cuban-born teammate's ear, the team said.
The Dodgers did not spell out the reasoning for letting catcher Miguel Olivo, 35, go from the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Dodgers' Triple A affiliate. The move came a day after he was suspended pending completion of an internal investigation of the altercation during a baseball game in Salt Lake City.
With the Dodgers releasing him from their organization, Olivo could be picked up by another team within two days, and if that does not happen, he will become a free agent under Major League Baseball rules.
Olivo became enraged at second baseman Alex Guerrero for missing a tag in the previous inning during a game on Tuesday in which the Isotopes suffered a 7-4 loss against the Salt Lake City Bees, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
When Olivo was eventually pulled off Guerrero by teammates, part of Guerrero's ear was in his mouth, the newspaper reported.
Guerrero, who is from Cuba, last year signed with the Dodgers in a four-year deal worth $28 million.
Salt Lake City police said in a statement that they were aware of the altercation and were contacted by a local hospital about a man with a partially torn ear.
Police went to the hospital and interviewed the man but he declined to file a complaint, so a criminal case is not proceeding, the police statement said. Police did not identify the man with the ear injury.
“He (Guerrero) did have reconstructive surgery (on Tuesday) and is still recovering at the hospital in Salt Lake City,” Joe Jareck, spokesman for the Los Angeles Dodgers, said in an email.
Jareck would not say how long Guerrero would be sidelined.
Olivo had appeared in 20 games for Albuquerque this season, batting .368 with four homers and 20 RBIs. He also recorded 23 at-bats with the Los Angeles Dodgers from April 30-May 15, hitting .217 with one triple and two RBIs.
(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Dan Grebler)