Arrest warrant issued for Cardinals' Scott Spiezio

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 | 4:17 p.m. CST; updated 1:01 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Scott Spiezio, a utilityman for the St. Louis Cardinals, is shown during spring training baseball practice on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008, in Jupiter, Fla. The Irvine Police Department has issued an arrest warrant for Spiezio on six charges stemming from a Dec. 30 incident police said involved the crash of a car registered to him.

IRVINE, Calif. — An arrest warrant for St. Louis Cardinals utilityman Scott Spiezio was issued by local police on six charges stemming from a crash in late December.

The warrant filed Tuesday alleged driving under influence, driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more, hit and run, aggravated assault, assault and battery. The maximum penalty is two years in state prison.

Spiezio did not play in Wednesday's exhibition game against St. Louis University at Jupiter, Fla. Cardinals spokesman Brian Bartow said the team was not aware of the warrant.

Irvine police believe Spiezio was driving under the influence at the time of the crash Dec. 30, Lt. Rick Handfield said.

"We've never been able to talk to him," Handfield said. "The detective has expressed an interest in having Mr. Spiezio come to California."

Spiezio's agent, Barry Meister, did not immediately return a message left by The Associated Press.

The 35-year-old Spiezio was part of the Anaheim Angels' 2002 World Series championship team. He is best remembered in Anaheim for a three-run homer in Game 6 against the San Francisco Giants that helped the Angels rally from the largest deficit ever in a potential Series-deciding game.

Spiezio played in Seattle for two seasons before joining the Cardinals in 2006 and helping them win the World Series that year.

Spiezio missed more than a month last season while receiving treatment 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, managing only 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.

Irvine police responded to a report of a single-car crash at 12:20 a.m. on Dec. 30 in Orange County.

Officers found a 2004 BMW registered to Spiezio had crashed into a curb and fence. The driver was seen running from the crash site, Handfield said.

Police located a neighbor of Spiezio who told officers that he was assaulted by Spiezio at their condo complex a short distance from the crash site, Handfield said.

The neighbor said Spiezio had arrived home appearing disheveled and apparently injured. Spiezio vomited in his condo and then is suspected of having assaulted the neighbor, causing significant injuries, Handfield said.

Spiezio was devastated by the death of Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock, who was legally intoxicated when he crashed into the back of a flatbed truck last April.

Spiezio said the situation might have pushed him deeper into dependency.

"You've got to put yourself in the right situations, sometimes change friends or go out to breakfast with a friend and not to a place where you can start making bad decisions," he said in January. "I've got to be in a frame of mind where I can't lose focus in any way."

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