New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman told reporters on Thursday that he would appeal any possible suspension handed down by Major League Baseball for the domestic violence allegations brought against him.
“My main focus is to play baseball,” Chapman said at the Yankees' spring training facility in Tampa. “I feel great, I'm happy to be here and I can't wait to get started.”
The Yankees acquired Chapman in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for minor-league players Caleb Cotham, Rookie Davis, Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda. The Reds had originally arranged a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the transaction fell through when the domestic violence allegations surfaced.
Chapman 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, but MLB’s investigation is ongoing. Chapman, who has been interviewed by MLB's investigators, could still be penalized by the league without being charged with a crime in accordance with its new domestic violence policy.
Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner has defended his team’s trade for Chapman and said the pitcher is “innocent until proven otherwise."
Last month, Chapman was named closer over lefthander Andrew Miller, who was New York’s closer in 2015, and righthanded reliever Dellin Betances. Chapman's first bullpen session of the spring is slated for Saturday.