Warm-Up Pitcher Says|Phillies Smeared Him


      (CN) – A batting practice pitcher claims in court that Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. started a smear campaign to keep him from finding work with other Major League teams.
     In his complaint in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Ali Modami says he was the Phillies batting practice pitcher from May 2007 until Oct. 11, 2011, when Amaro fired him. He says Amaro told him the team was “going in a different direction” and wanted to “change up the hitting program.”
     After being fired, Modami says, he called former Phillies and current Washington Nationals player Jason Werth about a vacant batting practice pitcher position with the Nationals. He called L.A. Dodger Andre Ethier about a similar position with that club, the complaint states.
     Modami says both players sent his resume to their general managers and that the Dodgers especially showed interest in his services.
     Then, Modami says, he received a text from Werth in January, stating, “Rizzo talked to [Amaro] NO GOOD, call me ASAP.” (Brackets in complaint.)
     Modami says Werth told him that Amaro gave Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo false information about Modami’s departure from the Phillies.
     “Specifically, Amaro falsely informed Rizzo that plaintiff Modami was no longer employed by the Phillies because he was ‘stealing’ and ‘selling’ memorabilia,” the complaint states. “Moreover, Amaro claimed that plaintiff was ‘writing negative things about the team’ on the Internet.”
     Shortly after that, Modami says, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti contacted him to say that his club wouldn’t need his services.
     Modami says he spoke later with Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes, who told him that Colletti had a conversation with Amaro, and that “Amaro’s comments were the sole reason for plaintiff Modami’s non-hire.”
     Modami seeks more than $100,000 in damages for defamation and tortious interference with business relations.
     He is represented by Sidney Gold.
     The Phillies and Amaro are named as defendants.

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