Police issue warrant for Cards’ utilityman



By The Associated Press

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 the 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 manager Tony La Russa said he did not have specifics on the warrant and had not spoken to Spiezio.

“I had heard there was an incident in California. I didn’t think anything would come of it,” he said.

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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 Angeles 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.