Manfred expects decision in a few days on domestic violence cases

Published 12:58 am Sunday, February 21, 2016

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) — Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred expects to have a decision within a few days on two of the first three cases covered by the sport’s new domestic violence policy.

Major League Baseball has been investigating New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.

Any discipline under the policy must be for “just cause.”

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“The standards of proof in a labor arbitration and a criminal case are very different,” Manfred said Friday.

He did not specify which cases he hopes to decide soon.

“My strong preference would have been to have them decided by this point in the calendar,” Manfred said Friday. “More important than the calendar, however, is making sure that we know all the facts before I make a decision. The worst thing that can happen from our perspective is to make a decision and then find out that we decided without knowing everything that happened.”

Acquired by the Yankees from the Cincinnati Reds in a December trade, Chapman is under investigation for an incident at his house in Florida in October involving his girlfriend. Chapman is alleged to have fired a gun during the incident.

Prosecutors declined to file charges. Chapman has said he would appeal any suspension to baseball’s arbitrator, his right under the policy.

Reyes is allegedly to have assaulted his wife on Halloween in a Hawaii hotel and is scheduled to go on trial April 4.

Puig got into a fight with a bouncer at a Miami bar in November.

“The timing of gathering those facts is not completely within our control,” Manfred said.

“Obviously, in large measure we’re dependent on law enforcement and the activities surrounding the three incidents. I expect that we will have some action on at least two of the three in the next few days.”

Under the domestic violence policy, discipline is not contingent on a criminal conviction.

“There’s lots of reasons for non-prosecution,” Manfred said. “Not all of them relate to the underlying facts. It may be unavailability or unwillingness of witnesses to participate, whatever. That makes the cases difficult.

“Secondly, the policy is pretty explicit. The fact that law enforcement decides either that it is not going to or cannot because of a lack of proof proceed be doesn’t mean that discipline isn’t appropriate. The policy is very explicit on that.”