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Myers will leave Phillies through All-Star break

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies pitcher Brett Myers will take a leave of absence through the All-Star break, saying he has embarrassed his family and the team with his arrest last week in Boston on charges that he hit his wife in the face.

Myers, the 25-year-old ace of the Philadelphia staff, said yesterday he asked the team for time off so he can ``concentrate on this matter and make plans for whatever assistance is appropriate."

He was arrested Friday, the day before his scheduled start against the Red Sox, and accused of striking his wife, Kim, on a street not far from Fenway Park. He was freed after his wife posted $200 bail, and he has an Aug. 4 court date for assault charges.

``First, while I dispute that the facts are as alleged, I recognize that my behavior was inappropriate and for that I apologize," Myers said in a statement. ``Second, I recognize that the incident created an embarrassing situation for many people, including my wife and family, my teammates, the Phillies organization, and fans, and I am very sorry for that."

The Phillies' decision to let Myers pitch Saturday was heavily criticized in Philadelphia and a women's group that fights domestic violence called for a suspension.

Team president David Montgomery insisted yesterday the team is not indifferent to spousal abuse.

``We abhor such violence and recognize that it is a very serious problem affecting a substantial number of victims, particularly women, across the country," he said. ``If we have been guilty of delay in expressing these sentiments, we are sorry."

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