Mets, K-Rod could settle grievance

The start of a grievance hearing to recover more than $3 million withheld by the New York Mets from injured reliever Francisco Rodriguez has been postponed, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The hearing before arbitrator Shyam Das was to start Monday, but was called off as the sides closed in on a settlement, the person said Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the sides agreed no public comments would be made.

Rodriguez was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment following a fight with his girlfriend’s father outside a family lounge at Citi Field on Aug. 11.

New York withheld $3,142,076 of his $11.5 million salary this year and said it was exercising a contractual right to convert the rest of his $37 million, three-year deal to non-guaranteed.

Under the framework of an agreement still under negotiation, the four-time All-Star would lose the withheld 2010 salary, but 2011 would remain guaranteed, the person said.

The settlement discussions were first reported by the New York Post.

On Sept. 22, Rodriguez was charged with seven counts of criminal contempt for sending his girlfriend dozens of text messages begging for forgiveness, violating a restraining order issued after his arrest.