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Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman: ‘I haven’t hurt anybody’

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman leaves the bullpen

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman leaves the bullpen after throwing during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 20, 2016 Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

TAMPA, Fla. — Saying “I haven’t hurt anybody,” Aroldis Chapman Tuesday morning repeated his intent to appeal any suspension handed down by commissioner Rob Manfred in his domestic violence case.

“To me, if it doesn’t go my way, I’m just going to appeal,” the Yankees closer said through his translator before throwing his second bullpen of camp, a 27-pitch session that drew another big crowd. “I haven’t hurt anybody.”

Asked if he was speaking specifically of the night of the alleged incident from last Oct. 30 involving his girlfriend or in general terms, Chapman said: “Just in general, I’ve never hurt anybody. Never in my life.”

Joe Girardi, while discussing Chapman when camp opened last week, said he had not read the police report, but on Tuesday said he finally had.

Commenting on the “I’ve never hurt anybody” remark, Girardi said: “Obviously, you hope that’s the case. And it appears that — from what I read — I don’t think there were marks on her, if I read that correctly. But abuse doesn’t always need to be physical. It’s not always physical. There’s mental abuse. There’s all kinds of abuse. But you hope that’s the case.”

Chapman, excused from camp Monday by the Yankees for “personal reasons” unrelated to his possible suspension, is among three players Major League Baseball is investigating under its domestic abuse policy. Manfred said Tuesday that Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes, a former Met, has been placed on paid leave pending completion of criminal proceedings. Manfred said Monday that a decision on Yasiel Puig’s case would come this week.

“I don’t know about that,” Chapman said through his translator. “That’s up to them.”

MLB executive Joe Torre declined to comment. Torre was in camp along with senior vice president of baseball operations Peter Woodfork and umpire supervisor Larry Young to meet with Yankees coaches about rules changes.

“It’s an ongoing [investigation],” Torre said as he left Steinbrenner Field. “Obviously, I’m sensitive to the situation because of our Safe at Home Foundation, but beyond that I real ly can’t say anything . . . I’m not going to comment on any of it because . . . it’s in the commissioner’s hands right now. He’s going to do what he thinks is the right thing to do.”

Chapman did not elaborate on the family issues in Miami that took him from the club Monday, nor did he offer anything more regarding the alleged incident. However, when asked if he believed the story had painted him in a somewhat unfair light, he said, “Yeah, just a little bit. That’s not my character or the person that I am.”

Florida prosecutors declined to file charges, citing conflicting witness testimony and not having enough evidence to get a conviction.

The police report from the alleged incident initially was obtained by Yahoo! Sports during the winter meetings in December when a trade for Chapman between the Reds and Dodgers was scuttled. Allegations from his girlfriend included that he “choked” her during an argument and fired eight gunshots in the garage of his Miami-area home.

According to the report, 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.

When asked for comment, Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran said: “He went through a tough situation and I bet he wants to forget about the moment what he went through and move forward. As a teammate, we’re going to support him. I’m very happy that he’s with us. A guy like him has a lot of potential to help us win a lot of ballgames, with those three guys in the bullpen. It will be amazing. His personal situation, I don’t real ly know much about it, but all I can say is nobody wants to go through situations like that.”

With David Lennon


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