New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has been suspended for 30 games due to his role in a domestic incident. Billy Witz of the New York Times was first to report the news, which has since been confirmed by Major League Baseball. Chapman will not appeal the suspension.
The 28-year-old pitcher was being investigated under MLB's new domestic violence policy after he was involved in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend in October. According to the police report, Chapman allegedly choked his girlfriend and fired eight gunshots into his garage.
Chapman's suspension won't kick in until the regular season, so he'll be eligible to play during spring training. He will be able to return May 9 against the Kansas City Royals. Chapman will lose roughly $1.7 million while serving his suspension, according to Witz.
Chapman released a statement shortly after the news broke, insisting he didn't hurt his girlfriend and his accepting MLB's punishment to limit distractions. Here's his statement in full:
"Today, I accepted a 30 game suspension from Major League Baseball resulting from my actions on October 30, 2015. I want to be clear, I did not in any way harm my girlfriend that evening. However, I should have exercised better judgment with respect to my actions, and for that I am sorry. The decision to accept a suspension, as opposed to appealing one, was made after careful consideration. I made this decision in an effort to minimize the distractions that an appeal would cause the Yankees, my new teammates and most importantly, my family. I have learned from this matter, and I look forward to being part of the Yankees’ quest for a 28th World Series title. Out of respect for my teammates and my family, I will have no further comment."
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred also released a statement explaining why he opted to give Chapman a 30-game suspension.
“I asked my staff to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the incident involving Aroldis Chapman on October 30, 2015. Much of the information regarding the incident has been made public through documents released by law enforcement. Mr. Chapman submitted to an in-person interview with counsel present. After reviewing the staff report, I found Mr. Chapman’s acknowledged conduct on that day to be inappropriate under the negotiated Policy, particularly his use of a firearm and the impact of that behavior on his partner. I am gratified that Mr. Chapman has taken responsibility for his conduct, that he has agreed not to appeal the 30-game suspension, and that he has agreed to comply with the confidential directives of the Joint Policy Board established under the parties’ Policy to ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future.”
Chapman posted a 1.63 ERA over 66 1/3 innings with the Cincinnati Reds last season. Despite the investigation, the Yankees traded for the All-Star closer in December.
Due to the length of the suspension, Chapman will become a free-agent following the 2016 season. Had Chapman been suspended for 40 games, he could have remained with the Yankees for an additional season due to service time rules.
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