Phillies' help brings relief to reliever

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Philadelphia Phillies&#39; Ryan Howard is reflected in the World Series trophy after Game 5 of the baseball World Series in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. The Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 to win the series. &#40;AP Photo&#47;David J. Phillip&#41;</span></div>
February 25, 2009 7:35:37 PM PST
As a late-season pickup, Scott Eyre gave the Philadelphia Phillies three months of near-perfect relief on their march to a World Series title. The team brought relief to Eyre on Wednesday.

Eyre is one of several major leaguers inadvertently caught up in the federal investigation of Stanford Investment Group. Securities and Exchange Commission officials raided the offices of R. Allen Stanford on Feb. 17 and froze the assets of three companies he controls, alleging he orchestrated an $8 billion investment fraud.

About a week ago, Eyre said, his wife's credit card was declined, and the pitcher realized he didn't have enough money to pay his monthly bills. His bank account funds are frozen as the government investigates.

After hearing their reliever's plight, the Phillies stepped in and advanced Eyre an undisclosed amount of his $2 million salary to hold him over until his Stanford account becomes available. Eyre said his only other bank account has a $3,000 balance.

"If we paid our bills, we wouldn't have any money," Eyre said. "I'll pay (the Phillies) back whenever I can I invested in (Stanford) three years ago (and) thought it was too good to be true - and it was."

Eyre isn't alone. Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady of the New York Yankees and Carlos Pena of the Tampa Bay Rays also have been affected by the Stanford scandal.

All four major leaguers have had some of their assets frozen by federal regulators. The players said they've been told by federal officials that their money is safe, but access to it is being blocked temporarily while the investigation proceeds.

Eyre, a 36-year-old reliever who went 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA for the Phillies after arriving from the Chicago Cubs in August, said he's bringing his story to the press to help other innocent victims who don't have the same avenues of help.

"It's not just the big people - not that I consider myself big - but there are people out there without a voice," Eyre said. "I didn't want this to be the 'Woe is Scott Eyre Story.'

"Thousands and thousands of people who invested their money in Stanford can't use their money right now. (They) can't pay their bills the only reason I said anything at all is because of the people that don't have access to media, so the government can realize (this is happening)."

Eyre, who during spring training stays with his family at his offseason home in nearby Bradenton, Fla., said several teammates also volunteered to cut him a check to help out.

Even though the team stepped up to help him, Eyre questions why the government took an action that has made life difficult for so many honest investors.

"I don't think they needed to freeze everything - that's just stupid," Eyre said.

"What sucks is there are people who invested with that (expletive deleted) Robert Allen Stanford's group. He's a billionaire. Does he really need to do a scam to make more money?" Eyre isn't due to receive his first paycheck from the Phillies until after the regular season begins in April.

NOTES: In the Phillies first exhibition game of the spring at Bradenton, reliever Joe Bisenius yielded four earned runs in one inning in an 8-2 loss to the Pirates Jamie Moyer, who started, threw two shutout innings while Raul Ibanez collected his first hit and RBI as a Phillie in the third inning Eric Hinske, who made the final out of last year's World Series when he struck out against Brad Lidge, is now with the Pirates. "I was hoping he'd throw a fastball, obviously," Hinske said, with a laugh, of the slider that ended the 2008 season.

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