No charges will be filed against three New York Mets -- Dwight Gooden, Vince Coleman and Daryl Boston -- accused of raping a woman last year, prosecutors said in Fort Pierce, Fla., yesterday.
A 31-year-old woman accused the three players of attacking her in March 1991 near the Mets' spring training home in Port St. Lucie, Fla. But State's Attorney Bruce Colton cited a lack of corroborating evidence and a long delay in the woman's complaint in the decision not to bring charges.
"It was an accumulation of problems," Colton said. "We have to make our decision -- not based on whether we believe the victim -- but whether there was a likelihood of a conviction."
The announcement ended an investigation that began March 3, when the woman signed a statement accusing the three players of raping her on March 30, 1991, at a house Gooden was renting for spring training last year.
"I'm very happy it's over. I had confidence all the way," Gooden said. "It's been a tough six weeks. I'm just glad to get back to playing baseball."
Each of the players took polygraph tests in which they acknowledged various sex acts took place, but said they were consensual.
* METS: Manager Jeff Torborg indicated that a time is coming when shortstop Kevin Elster must be able to make all the plays, or the club will be forced to "get somebody else."
Torborg indicated Wednesday that he is uncomfortable with the uncertainty of having a shortstop with shoulder problems.
General manager Al Harazin said the club has made at least one preliminary inquiry about obtaining a shortstop. "A modest step," Harazin said.
* RED SOX: Roger Clemens might miss his next start, Monday in Boston's home opener against the Orioles, because of an injured finger on his pitching hand, the team doctor said.
Clemens dislocated a joint on his right pinky during pre-game exercises Tuesday, Red Sox team physician Arthur Pappas said. Clemens was able to get his finger back in place before the game and pitched the whole way in Boston's 4-3 loss at the Yankees in the season opener.
Clemens pitched despite pain and swelling, Pappas said. He gave up eight hits, struck out five and walked one. He threw pitches of up to 95 mph.
"He uses the finger to help guide two of his pitches, therefore his control was affected somewhat, but not his velocity," Pappas said.
* CARDINALS: St. Louis lost its third player in as many games, placing right-hander Bryn Smith on the 15-day disabled list a day after he had to leave his first start with elbow stiffness.
Smith, who had elbow surgery in 1986, is the eighth St. Louis player to go on the disabled list. Second baseman Jose Oquendo dislocated his shoulder diving for a ground ball in Monday's opener, and first baseman Andres Galarraga cracked a bone in his right wrist when he was hit by a pitch Tuesday.
Cardinals rookie left-hander Donovan Osborne suffered a minor injury yesterday, spraining his left ankle attempting to field a bunt.
TC * WHITE SOX: Bo Jackson was released from a Palos Hills, Ill., hospital, five days after the former two-sport All-Star underwent hip replacement surgery.
"Everything went well, and Bo is doing fine," Dr. James Boscardin, the senior team physician, said in a statement.
* National League umpire Eric Gregg has not started working this season because of recurring ankle problems, the league said. Gregg broke his left ankle in February 1983 and has encountered periodic problems. It is not known when he will be able to begin this season.