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Report: Rangers' Tanner Scheppers was 'verbal instigator' in bar fight

(Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Reliever Tanner Scheppers said he was "sucker punched" in Cleveland on Thursday night, but discrepancies exist between his account of the incident, a witness' and a police statement. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

A witness who saw the incident that left Texas Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers with a black eye and headaches refuted Scheppers' claim that he was "sucker punched" in Cleveland on Thursday night.

The witness told clevescene.com that Scheppers, accompanied by closer Joe Nathan, catcher A.J. Pierzynski and several women, was a "verbal instigator" in the altercation.

While Scheppers, who was unavailable to pitch on Friday against the Indians, told The Fort-Worth Star-Telegram that he was "blindsided" while getting food, the witness said he was actually "jawing back and forth" with the men who punched him.

"He lost a bar fight," the witness told clevescene.com. "He had 10 chances to walk away before this happened."

Scheppers called the punch "one of those freak things" in his account to The Star-Telegram.

The Cleveland Police Department released information regarding the incident on Sunday, writing that it took place at 2:30 a.m. at Panini's Bar about six blocks from the Rangers' hotel, not two as Scheppers told reporters.

From MLB.com:

"The preliminary investigation reveals that on Friday, July 26, at approximately 2:30 a.m., Texas Ranger pitcher Tanner Scheppers was involved in a physical altercation at Panini's Bar, located on W. 6th Street," said Cleveland public information officer Sgt. Sammy Morris in an email. "Further investigation reveals that the altercation was called in by Downtown Alliance workers, and that Third District officers responded to the scene to investigate. Once on scene, officers attempted to get information from Scheppers for a report. However, he refused to provide information and refused to make a police report. Further, officers called for EMS, and he refused medical attention and EMS was disregarded. The officers then conveyed Scheppers and another male to the Rangers' team hotel.

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