Thursday January 21st, 2016

New York Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner defended his team’s trade for Aroldis Chapman, despite the ongoing investigation into domestic violence allegations against the former Cincinnati Reds pitcher, according to The Associated Press.

“In this country where allegations are brought against a person, that person is completely innocent until proven otherwise,” Steinbrenner said Wednesday in his first public comments on the situation. “Not the other way around. I think we should keep that in mind right now.”

The Yankees acquired Chapman in a trade with the Reds that sent minor league players Caleb Cotham, Rookie Davis, Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda to Cincinnati. The Reds had originally arranged a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the transaction fell through when the domestic violence allegations surfaced.

Reports: Mets sign LHP Antonio Bastardo to two-year deal

Chapman is alleged to have choked his girlfriend before firing eight gunshots in the garage at his home in October. Police have closed the investigation into the matter because of insufficient evidence, but MLB’s investigation is ongoing. Chapman could still be penalized by MLB without being charged with a crime in accordance with its new domestic violence policy.

“Obviously, as a player, he’s tremendous,” Steinbrenner said. “We looked at him in July at the trade deadline....A lot of thought was put into it. But the benefits for the organization as a player, if you look at the baseball side of it, is tremendous upside, needless to say.”

Steinbrenner’s comments come after New York City council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito criticized the Yankees’ acquisition of a player accused of domestic violence and threatened to boycott games.

- Erin Flynn

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