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Ex-Astro Hayes accused of assaulting youth coach

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Ex-Astro Hayes accused of assaulting youth coach

An attorney for an ex-major leaguer accused of hitting a youth baseball coach said today his client was only defending himself when the man tried to attack him after using a racial epithet.

Authorities have charged Charlie Hayes with misdemeanor assault for a fight during a game last October. He faces up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted.

Hayes, who played 14 seasons as a third baseman for seven teams, including the  Astros and Yankees, pleaded not guilty during a court appearance Thursday.

His attorney, Terry Yates, said Hayes was trash-talking with an opposing coach during the game.

But at one point in their exchange, the coach directed a racial epithet at Hayes, Yates said.

However, the remark was not the reason the two men fought, Yates said.

"The guy also turned toward (Hayes) and came at him," he said. "Charlie was defending himself, and it didn't help that the guy made this statement either. It all happened so quickly."

Hayes received a bloody nose during the fight. The coach he is accused of assaulting told authorities his back was injured.

Yates said the delay in filing the assault charge, which was done last week, might have been motivated by an effort to get money from Hayes.

The coach has denied using the racial epithet and has said he isn't out for money.

Hayes is set to appear again in court March 1. He is free on a $1,000 bond.

In 1999, while playing for the Giants, Hayes was suspended for four games by the National League for charging an Arizona pitcher from second base and instigating a brawl.

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