El Duque In Support Battle

President Bush, holding a takeaway order of red beans and rice, stands with Kim Stewart, center, and 4-year-old James Stewart after visiting a diner in New Orleans, Wednesday, March 8, 2006. At right is Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and at rear is New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

An attorney for New York Yankees pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez asked a judge hearing a child-support case to seal the baseball player's financial records.

Attorney Javier Perez-Abreu asked Circuit Judge Henry Harnage Thursday to seal the records in order to avoid "unnecessary publicity."

Hernandez's former wife, Norma Manso, is suing the baseball star over how much money he should pay for the support of their two daughters, who live with their mother in Coral Gables.

According to a divorce agreement made in Cuba in 1997, Hernandez had agreed to pay 60 pesos a month the equivalent of $3 for both of his daughters.

Since then, Hernandez signed a contract with the Yankees that pays him at least $1.85 million a year, according to court documents.

Ms. Manso's attorney, Robert Spiegelman, filed a lawsuit June 8 asking for $9,500 a month in child support for his client, up from the current $2,000 a month. Ms. Manso wants the payments to be retroactive to October, when she arrived from Cuba.

Hernandez will have to file a financial affidavit as part of the case.

"We don't want to try this case in the media," Perez-Abreu told the judge.

Harnage said records are rarely sealed in these circumstances.

"The public has a right to know what is in a public record," Harnage said.

But the judge told Perez-Abreu to put the request in writing.

Hernandez said he already pays more than $2,000 a month in support when extraneous expenses that he pays directly, such as private school tuition, are included.

He bought a $260,000 home in Miami for Ms. Manso and their two daughters, Yahumara, 9, and Stheffi, 4. He also bought his ex-wife a car worth about $20,000. In addition to the private school tuition payments, he also covers his children's health and dental insurance.

Hernandez defected from Cuba in December 1997.

If an agreement isn't reached between the two parties, the case could go to trial in January.

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