TAMPA, Fla. — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred officially concluded a lengthy investigation of Aroldis Chapman Tuesday afternoon, suspending the new Yankees closer 30 games without pay for an alleged domestic violence incident that occurred last Oct. 30 between the pitcher and his girlfriend.
Chapman said he will not appeal the suspension.
Per Manfred’s ruling, he is eligible to pitch in spring training and exhibition games. The suspension takes effect Opening Day, April 4, and Chapman is eligible to return May 9 at home against the Royals. He will lose approximately $1.9 million in salary.
“Today, I accepted a 30-game suspension from Major League Baseball resulting from my actions on October 30, 2015,” Chapman said in a statement. “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.”
The team, in a brief statement, said: “The New York Yankees support the decision made by The Commissioner today. We are pleased that Aroldis has accepted this discipline.”
General manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi are expected to address the suspension Wednesday.
Chapman, who is expected to become a free agent after the season, twice had stated his intent to appeal any suspension, his right under the domestic abuse policy agreed upon by MLB and the Players Association last summer.
“The Major League Baseball Players Association and its members do not condone the mistreatment of others by playing or non-playing personnel,” the MLBPA said in a statement. “At the same time, the MLBPA remains committed to protecting and ensuring the rights granted to Players under the applicable provisions of the sport’s new Joint Policy on Domestic Violence. As such, the MLBPA supports Mr. Chapman’s decision to forgo his right to an appeal.”
MLB also is investigating cases involving Jose Reyes of the Rockies and Yasiel Puig of the Dodgers.
The policy allows Manfred to levy discipline even if law enforcement declines to bring charges, which is the case with Chapman. The police report was obtained by Yahoo Sports during December’s winter meetings after a Chapman deal between the Reds and Dodgers was scuttled. It included allegations that Chapman “choked” his girlfriend during an argument and fired eight gunshots in the garage of his Miami-area home.
But the report also said police did not observe any “injuries or even redness anywhere on her neck or chest.” Chapman admitted firing the gun, with seven shots hitting a concrete wall and the other going through a window into a nearby field.
Earlier Tuesday, Girardi expressed a desire to have a ruling, one way or the other, soon. “Then we could stop talking about it,” he said.
Several hours before the decision, Alex Rodriguez spoke about Chapman.
“He’s going through some serious issues, but that presents an opportunity to kind of make strides forward in your life way beyond baseball,” said Rodriguez, who was suspended all of 2014 for his involvement in PEDs and the Biogenesis scandal but back in the good graces of MLB in 2015. “But we need him. He’s a big part of our team. And I think the key in New York is you have to focus on the game, focus on your teammates, and I think he has a lot of support in that clubhouse.”
The Yankees envisioned having one of the game’s best — if not the best — bullpens by adding Chapman to the hard-throwing duo of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, last year’s closer. Until Chapman returns, it is expected that Miller, who went 36-for-38 in saves last season with a 2.04 ERA, will close, set up by Betances.