New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has been suspended 30 games under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, the league announced on Tuesday.
The lefthander will lose approximately $1.7 million in salary and will not appeal the suspension.
The 28-year-old is alleged to have choked his girlfriend before firing eight gunshots in the garage of his Florida home in October. Police have closed the investigation into the matter because of insufficient evidence.
Chapman released a statement after the suspension was announced in which he denied the allegations.
“Today, I accepted a 30 game suspension from Major League Baseball resulting from my actions on October 30, 2015,” he said. “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 certain actions, and for that I am sorry.
Chapman also said the decision to accept the suspension was made to “minimize the distractions that an appeal would cause.”
Chapman was acquired by the Yankees in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for minor-league players Caleb Cotham, Rookie Davis, Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda. The Reds initially arranged a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the transaction fell through when the domestic violence allegations surfaced.
In separate statements, the Yankees and MLB Players Association came out in support of Chapman’s decision to forgo his right to appeal the suspension.
Commissioner Rob Manfred released the following statements on Tuesday afternoon:
Because his ban was shorter than 40 games, Chapman will be a free agent at season’s end. A suspension of 40 or more games would have kept him under the Yankees’ control through next season.
Manager Joe Girardi named Chapman the team’s closer over incumbent southpaw Andrew Miller and righthanded reliever Dellin Betances.
Chapman is the first player to be disciplined under the league’s new domestic violence policy. Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was placed on paid leave until his court case regarding a domestic violence incident is settled; he will stand trial on April 4. MLB is also investigating an incident regarding Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.
– Christopher Chavez and Kenny Ducey