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Mark Leiter Denies Punching Woman

April 28, 1999

SEATTLE (AP) _ Mark Leiter of the Seattle Mariners denies accusations by a woman who contends he punched her and put out a cigarette on her arm during their affair that ended nearly two years ago.

``I do know this woman,″ Leiter said before Tuesday night’s game against Detroit. ``It’s unfortunate she filed this lawsuit. There’s no truth to the allegations.″

Sheila O’Connell of Arizona is seeking $6 million for physical and emotional pain, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, where O’Connell used to live.

Leiter, now divorced, referred questions to his agent, Alan Nero.

The 36-year-old right-hander is the brother of New York Mets pitcher Al Leiter. Mark Leiter was acquired by the Mariners in an offseason trade with Philadelphia but was sidelined by injuries until Tuesday, when he was taken off the disabled list.

He had shoulder tendinitis during spring training and then hurt himself throwing on a bunt play while in the minors.

Leiter has a 63-72 career record with a 4.60 ERA. He’s also played for the New York Yankees, Detroit, California, San Francisco, Montreal and Philadelphia.

Several years ago, Leiter and his then-wife established the Ryan Leiter Fund in honor of their infant son who died in 1994 of a rare disease called spinal muscular atrophy, or Werdnig-Hoffmann disease. It is similar to Lou Gehrig’s disease, but afflicts infants instead of adults.

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