There may be more to the story of the Texas Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers mugging.
The pitcher claimed he was sucker-punched and blindsided in downtown Cleveland Thursday night by three young males while on his way to get something to eat. Scheppers indicated that didn’t file a police report because officers told him that these muggings happen all the time in the area and that an arrest was unlikely.
Additional details are emerging that call his version of the incident into some question.
Citing a witness, the CleveScene website claims that the altercation occurred at about 2:30 am Friday morning outside a bar called Panini’s (about six blocks from his hotel) and that the pitcher was something other than an innocent victim of street crime: “Tanner was a verbal instigator. He was with Joe Nathan, A.J. Pierzynski, and, according to our tipster, a bunch of girls. He had been jawing back and forth for a few minutes before the physical altercation took place. ‘He lost a bar fight,’ says the witness. ‘He had 10 chances to walk away before this happened.’ ”
Scheppers originally told the media that he “was the in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The Cleveland Police Department subsequently issued the following statement that seems to bolster the witness’s rendition of events. “The preliminary investigation reveals that on Friday, July 26, at approximately 2:30 a.m. Texas Ranger pitcher Tanner Scheppers was involved in a physical altercation at Panini’s Bar located on W. 6th Street. Further investigation reveals that the altercation was called in by Downtown Alliance workers and that Third District officers responded to the scene to investigate. Once on scene officers attempted to get information from Scheppers for a report however, he refused to provide information and refused to make a police report. Further, officers called for EMS and he refused medical attention and EMS was disregarded. The officers then conveyed Scheppers and another male to the Ranger’s team hotel.”
According to CBS, the Texas Rangers are also conducting their own investigation in the Scheppers situation.
Following today’s action, in which the Rangers lost again to the Cleveland Indians, Scheppers is 5-1, with a 1.70 ERA and 33 strikeouts. He pitched one inning in relief this afternoon.