That's a shame. I liked the guy...but he has issues he can't seem to shake.
Cards release Spiezio after arrest warrant issuedSTL Today Link
POST-DISPATCH STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
IRVINE, Calif. -- An arrest warrant has been issued by the Irvine Police Department for Cardinals utilityman Scott Spiezio on six charges stemming from a crash in late December.
The warrant alleges driving under the influence, driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more, hit and run, aggravated assault, assault and battery.
This afternoon, the Cardinals released a statement saying, "The ballclub is immediately releasing player Scott Spiezio in response to a six-count arrest warrant issued for Spiezio today."
The 35-year-old Spiezio, who missed more than a month last season while receiving treatment for substance abuse, was not in the lineup for Wednesday's exhibition game against St. Louis University at Jupiter, Fla.
â€œWe decided this afternoon that we are releasing Scott Spiezio,â€ said Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak in the statement. â€œWe hope Scott will continue to seek appropriate help and wish him the best in baseball, but more importantly in life.â€
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told an Associated Press reporter in Jupiter that he did not have specifics on the warrant and had not spoken to Spiezio.
"I had heard there was an incident in California," La Russa said. "I didn't think anything would come of it.
Spiezio's agent, Barry Meister, did not immediately return a message left by The Associated Press.
Authorities in Irvine, a suburb of Los Angeles, provided the following narration of events before and after the crash, which occurred at 12:20 a.m. on Dec. 30, a Sunday:
Spiezio was seen consuming several vodka drinks at a bar in nearby Newport Beach, Calif., and then driving away in his 2004 BMW. Witnesses saw his car speeding, cutting across lanes and crossing into oncoming traffic before driving over a curb and crashing into a fence at Campus and Carlson avenues, a short distance from his condominium.
Other witnesses saw a man they identified as Spiezio get out of the car and run. Police officers who arrived at the scene found the car, with both of its front tires blown, and verified it was Spiezioâ€™s.
Spiezio allegedly went from the crash site to his condo complex, where a friend noticed that he was disheveled and apparently injured. The friend brought Spiezio into the friend's apartment and tried to clean him up, then Spiezio vomited inside the condo, police said.
When the friend said something about the vomit, Spiezio allegedly became angry and attacked the man, "punching him repeatedly and then throwing him against a wall," according to a statement by the Orange County district attorneyâ€™s office.
Lt. Rick Handfield, spokesman for the Irvine Police Department, said Spiezio never has talked to investigating officers, who began looking for him the morning of the alleged incidents.
"There has been contact with attorneys on his behalf, and certainly his family knew we wanted to speak with him," Handfield said. "Heâ€™s certainly aware of the investigation."
Handfield said the detective assigned to the case interviewed numerous witnesses, from the bar to the condo, before preparing his report, which the department took to the district attorney this week. A judge signed the six-count warrant on Tuesday.
Handfield declined to identify the victim. He said the man "was a neighbor who knew who Spiezio was, and who offered to help. They both live in that complex."
The six counts, all misdemeanors, accuse Spiezio of driving under the influence, driving under the influence while his blood level was .08 percent or higher, hit-and-run with property damage, aggravated assault, battery and assault. Handfield said Spiezio was accused of striking the victim with his fists.
Spiezioâ€™s condo is in an area of Irvine between John Wayne Airport and the University of California at Irvine. Handfield described it as a commercial area in which high-rise condos have been built.
Bond accompanying the warrant was set at $10,000.
Spiezio missed more than a month last season while being treated for substance abuse.
"I was out of control for a while," he said in September. "I learned a lot and I'm ready to start contributing in a good way now."
At the time, Spiezio said he'd been struggling with substance abuse for six or seven months, although he wouldn't disclose the substance, saying "I'll save that for the book."
Spiezio is entering the final season of a two-year, $4.5 million contract.
He batted .272 in 119 games with 13 homers and 52 RBIs in 2006. Last year, he appeared in only 82 games due to injuries, illness and treatment, with four homers, 31 RBIs and a .269 average.
Spiezio, a married father of three who plays in the heavy metal band SandFrog, has cultivated a hard-rocking image through 12 major league seasons.