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Mets’ K-Rod charged with assaulting his father-in-law

A Queens judge ruled that star Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez — known to fans as K-Rod — cannot see or contact his children, his common-law wife or her father, whom he is charged with assaulting Wednesday night in a hallway outside the family room at Citi Field.

Rodriguez — whose nickname reflects his skill in recording strike-outs, or “K’s” — was arraigned on charges of third-degree assault and second-degree harassment Thursday afternoon in a courtroom at Queens Criminal Court packed to the gills with reporters, who chased him out to a black SUV waiting to whisk him away after he was released without bail on his own recognizance.

Judge Mary O’Donaghue issued orders of protection barring him from seeing the alleged victim, Carlos Pena, and his common-law wife, Carlos Pena’s daughter Daian Pena. He was suspended from Thursday and Friday’s games by the Mets organization and will be allowed to return to his Long Island home only once with an NYPD escort to retrieve his belongings, O’Donaghue said. Visitation rights for his year-old twins will be hashed out in family court.

The charges come in connection with Rodriguez’s alleged beating of Carlos Pena, 53, after the Mets lost a game to the Colorado Rockies inside the new Queens stadium.  The pitcher is accused of attacking his father-in-law, who was taken in a stretcher to Flushing Hospital Wednesday night with a frontal lobe hematoma, contusions and abrasions, according to Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kane.

“Once Mr. Pena came out into the hallway, the defendant started punching him about the head, jumped on him and started pummelling him,” she said in court. “It wasn’t until security guards heard the screaming that they were able to pull him off.”

Rodriguez, who is known for his hot temper on and off the field, has been in trouble before, according to Kane. She said an order of protection had been filed against him in Venezuela years ago, and another was filed in California a number of years later. Rodriguez used to play for the Los Angeles Angels.

“There seems to be a history of violence,” she said. “They are very fearful of him returning home.”

The reasoning behind the outburst is not yet clear, but Rodriguez’s lawyer, Christopher Booth, mentioned more than once that both Penas live in his home and that Carlos Pena drives his cars without his permission.

“Mr, Rodriguez, like everybody else, has family issues, and the stress that comes with being a professional athlete,” Booth said in front of the courthouse following the hearing. “He is committed to putting this conflict behind him and helping the Mets end this season hopefully on a positive note.”

Rodriguez is scheduled to return to court Sept. 14.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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