TAMPA, Fla. — New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman says he would appeal if he is suspended by Major League Baseball under the sport’s new domestic violence policy.
Florida prosecutors decided not to file charges against Chapman, whose girlfriend told officers he pushed her, put his hands around her neck and choked her during an argument in October. Broward Assistant State Attorney Stefanie Newman wrote conflicting accounts and insufficient evidence made a conviction unlikely.
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said he hopes to have a decision by opening day.
“It’s something out of my hands,” Chapman said through a translator after Yankees pitchers and catchers reported Thursday for spring training. “It’s something I can’t really talk about. We’ve got to wait to see what happens.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi has not yet read the police report, but said he plans to.
“The most important thing is me getting to know him more than the report,” Girardi said. “I know it’s very serious and we’ll take it very serious. I want to get to know him before I really form an opinion of his character.”
MLB is also investigating Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes.
Under the agreement last August between MLB and the players’ association, discipline is not dependent on a criminal conviction.
Following the acquisition of Chapman from Cincinnati in December, Andrew Miller is moving from closer to a setup role alongside Dellin Betances.
“The fact that we have three arms the caliber of the three arms we have, it’s awesome,” Chapman said.
Chapman threw the 62 fastest pitches in the major leagues last season, ranging from 103.92 to 102.36 mph.
“The crowd at Yankee Stadium is going to wait instead of leaving early to beat traffic,” Betances said. “They’re going to stay and wait to see 102, 103, 104 and I think he’s gotten it to 105 (mph). It’s going to be very exciting.”
Chapman is scheduled to throw off a mound Saturday.
A new protective screen behind home plate at Steinbrenner Field has been enlarged by one section each on the first- and third-base sides. The screen now starts at the home-plate side of each dugout. … Pitchers playing catch used a new 2016 official spring training ball that includes a Florida logo. There is also a version of the ball with an Arizona logo to be used by teams training in that state.
RHP Masahiro Tanaka returned following the birth of his son Monday. Coming off elbow bone spur surgery in October, Tanaka threw a bullpen Sunday at Steinbrenner Field. “I’m right where I want to be,” Tanaka said through a translator. “I think I’m at a pretty good place.” … After pitching in a career-high 74 games last season, Betances took two months off from throwing, one more than in the past.