NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Mets will be without their All-Star closer for the first couple of weeks of the season.
Major League Baseball suspended pitcher Jeurys Familia for 15 games Wednesday following his October arrest on a domestic violence charge.
Familia was arrested on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge stemming from an incident that took place Oct. 31 of 2016, when he allegedly caused a scratch to the chest and a bruise to the right cheek of his wife, Bianca Rivas.
Rivas has said the scratches were from the couple’s baby and the bruise was from a door hitting her cheek.
The criminal charges were dropped, but the right-hander still faced discipline from MLB. He left the Mets’ spring training camp in Port St. Lucie, Florida, earlier this week to meet with baseball commissioner Rob Manfred in New York.
Familia will not appeal the suspension, which will cost him more than $700,000 in pay. He also has agreed to make a donation to a charity that supports domestic violence victims and speak publicly about what he has learned through the process.
In a statement Wednesday, Familia apologized for his actions but insisted he never physically abused his wife.
“With all that has been written and discussed regarding this matter, it is important that it be known that I never physically touched, harmed or threatened my wife that evening,” he said. “I did, however, act in an unacceptable manner and am terribly disappointed in myself. I am alone to blame for the problems of that evening.
“I apologize to the Mets’ organization, my teammates, and all my fans. I look forward to rejoining the Mets and being part of another World Series run.”
A statement from Manfred confirmed Familia’s account of the events.
“The evidence reviewed by my office does not support a determination that Mr. Familia physically assaulted his wife or threatened her or others with physical force or harm, on October 31, 2016,” he said. “Nevertheless I have concluded that Mr. Familia’s overall conduct that night was inappropriate, violated the Policy, and warrants discipline.”
Manfred added that Familia has already attended 12 counseling sessions since the incident.
“It is clear that Mr. Familia regrets what transpired that night and takes full responsibility for his actions,” Manfred said.
The Mets said they “fully support MLB’s domestic violence policy, the discipline handed down today by Commissioner Manfred, and the decision by Jeurys Familia to accept his penalty without an appeal.”
As part of the suspension, Familia will make appearances at MLB’s rookie program both in the United States and the Dominican Republic. As CBS2’s Otis Livingston reports, he will also have to make an appearance for a domestic violence group right here in New York.
The penalty was light in comparison to others doled out under baseball’s new domestic violence policy, which went into effect last year. The Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman received a 30-game suspension, the Rockies’ Jose Reyes, now a Met, got 52 games, and the Braves’ Hector Olivera was given an 82-game ban.
Familia’s arrest was ironic because he had been one of several New York sports figures who appeared in the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s “#NotAFan” campaign of public service announcements, saying in one video: “I am a fan of baseball. I am a fan of the Mets. I am not a fan of domestic violence.”
In an All-Star season in 2016, Familia had a 2.39 ERA and led the majors with 51 saves.
Addison Reed is expected to fill in as the Mets’ closer in Familia’s absence.