NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has agreed to accept a 30-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, a penalty stemming from an incident with his girlfriend last October.
Under the discipline announced Tuesday, Chapman will serve the penalty from the start of the season in April. He will lose 30 days of pay — $1,856,557 of his $11,325,000 salary — and 30 days of major league service, which will allow him to reach six years of service time after this season, enough to become eligible for free agency.
“I found Mr. Chapman’s acknowledged conduct on that day to be inappropriate … particularly his use of a firearm and the impact of that behavior on his partner,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “I am gratified that Mr. Chapman has taken responsibility for his conduct.”
Chapman became the first player penalized a finite number of games under the policy, which MLB and the players’ association agreed to in August following several high-profile incidents among NFL players. Colorado shortstop Jose Reyes was given an indefinite paid suspension last week, pending a trial scheduled for April 4, following an alleged altercation with him wife in October
Chapman will not appeal the suspension. He originally said earlier this month that he would appeal a suspension.
Baseball’s investigation of Chapman stemmed from Oct. 30. Chapman’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Cristina Barnea, told police he pushed and choked her. Chapman said there was an argument but that he was pushed down by Barnea’s brother, eventually getting a handgun and firing eight shots into a wall and window while locked in his garage.
The Davie Police Department and Broward Assistant State Attorney Stefanie Newman declined to file charges, saying conflicting accounts and insufficient evidence made a conviction unlikely. Under MLB’s domestic violence policy, discipline does not have to be predicated on a conviction.
Barnea later told prosecutors she didn’t recall saying Chapman had hit her.
Prosecutors also said if Chapman did fire his gun, he did not violate any Florida laws because he did it on private property and no one was injured by the shots
“I want to be clear, I did not in any way harm my girlfriend that evening,” Chapman said in a statement. “However, I should have exercised better judgment with respect to certain 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.”
The players’ association said it supported Chapman’s decision to accept the penalty and said “its members do not condone the mistreatment of others by playing or non-playing personnel.”
The Yankees acquired Chapman on Dec. 28 from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for minor league right-handers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda.
Chapman became available after the Reds’ deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers fell through when the accusations came to light.
He will team with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances to create what is expected to be one of the most dynamic bullpens in baseball in 2016.
Chapman, who has recorded 145 saves over the past four seasons and has a 104 mph fastball, was quickly named the Yankees’ closer by manager Joe Girardi.
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