PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — On advice of his lawyers, and through his atypical use of a translator, Mets closer Jeurys Familia refused to answer questions on Tuesday about the offseason domestic violence arrest that almost certainly will get him suspended to start the year.
Even after his case is resolved, Familia offered no assurances that he would publicly address the domestic violence incident.
“I’m just going to go based on whatever my lawyer suggests,” said Familia, who was flanked by the club’s media relations chief.
Nor would Familia comment about the likely suspension that he faces, which will leave the Mets without a closer who saved a National League best 51 games and posted a 2.55 ERA.
“Same thing,” Familia said. “I can’t speak about that.”
Earlier this month, commissioner Rob Manfred said he intends to rule on Familia’s case during spring training. Under baseball’s domestic violence policy, Manfred has the authority to punish Familia despite the legal status of his case.
“With the Familia investigation, I’m not going to say anything more than it’s ongoing,” Manfred said at the time. “I expect that we will have a decision certainly before Opening Day, but at a point in time that both the player and the club know what’s going on well in advance of Opening Day. I can’t be more concrete than that.”
Familia was arrested on Halloween at the Fort Lee, New Jersey, home that he shares with wife, Bianca Rivas. She had the charges dropped in December.
Based on precedent established in the domestic violence cases of the Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman and the Mets’ Jose Reyes, Familia appears likely to be suspended for at least 30 games, which will sideline him for the season’s opening month.
Familia arrived at camp on Tuesday, two days after the team’s official report day on Sunday. He had been delayed by a visa issue. He spent his morning greeting teammates with hugs, including with Addison Reed, the setup man who is in line to close out games in his place.
“It’s such a special feeling,” said Familia, who spent part of his offseason prepping for the World Baseball Classic by pitching in the Dominican Winter League. “We spend eight months of the year together, so it’s like walking in and seeing my family.”
Said manager Terry Collins, “I just told him this morning, I just hope you’re OK. Psychologically, this is a tough thing to get through. And physically, he’s got to get ready. So, those two things combined can be difficult. But we’re going to try support him as best we can and hopefully show other people that he’s sorry and fix it. But it’s hard.”
David Wright called the allegations against Familia “a mistake that shouldn’t be made.”
“Hopefully, everybody in that clubhouse, and everybody in baseball, and everybody in sports, and everybody in life in general, can see that and hopefully learn from that,” Wright said. “It shouldn’t happen to baseball players, it shouldn’t happen to athletes, it shouldn’t happen to anybody.”
Collins said RF Jay Bruce could see time at first base in spring training, giving the Mets an option behind Lucas Duda . . . Utilityman Ty Kelly cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas. He will be in camp as a nonroster invite.