Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca’s troubles increased Wednesday when a 19-year-old Long Island girl told a New York paper she had been having an affair with the catcher, one day after the team said it would look into allegations of gambling problems.
Krista Guterman, 19, said she had been having a "fling" with Lo Duca since April, the New York Daily News reported.
Lo Duca's wife, Sonia, has filed for divorce from the catcher, accusing him of infidelity.
Guterman said she didn't know Lo Duca was married when they began dating, and said she learned he was still married only when reading about the catcher's divorce Monday.
The article comes out a day after Mets general manager Omar Minaya said he would ask Lo Duca about allegations that he had huge gambling debts.
Lo Duca on Tuesday denied he has a gambling problem and expressed sympathy for what his wife is going through after she filed for divorce in June.
A report in the Daily News on Tuesday alleged Lo Duca had significant gambling debts and the Mets were aware of it. Various media outlets also have reported this week that his wife is accusing him of infidelity in a divorce petition that she filed in Texas in June.
Flanked by teammates Tom Glavine and David Wright, Lo Duca said he doesn’t want his situation to be a distraction to the Mets and thanked the fans for their support.
“I don’t have a gambling problem,” said Lo Duca, who did not take questions from reporters. “I do bet on horses legally. I have an online account, bet legally. I have no gambling debts, no past debts that were paid. Nothing. All of those allegations are false.”
Lo Duca said he owns thoroughbreds, breeds them and added, “it’s my love.”
A spokesman for the Mets declined to comment on the Daily News report.
Sonia Lo Duca posed for Playboy's Sexy Girl Next Door spread in 2001. She married Paul in 2000, before his first full season in the majors, in which he hit .320 for the Dodgers.
The allegations come in the midst of a fine season for Lo Duca. Heading into Tuesday night’s game against San Diego, the four-time All-Star was hitting .322 with three homers and 35 RBIs. He was batting .430 since July 1, the highest average in the majors during that span.
The crowd cheered the 34-year-old veteran when he came to the plate in the first inning.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Lo Duca said he still talks to his wife almost every day.
“We’re great friends and the issue here is my daughter,” he said. “I love my daughter more than anything in the world and I love my wife. We just decided we’re parting ways, bottom line.
“We’re great friends and to drag her through what’s been going on has been disappointing to me.”
Mets manager Willie Randolph said he addressed the team and told his players to stay focused. But he said he doesn’t think Lo Duca’s situation will be a distraction for the club.
“I think it’s important to have the guys stick behind him,” Wright said. “He’s a great guy. ... I think it’s important for him to know that he’s got guys in here that care about him and guys that are going to have his back.”
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