Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred expects to have a decision within a few days on two of the first three cases covered by MLB’s new domestic violence policy.
Whether or not that will include New York Yankees Aroldis Chapman is unknown, but a report surfaced Saturday suggesting that should Chapman face a suspension, that ban could include all or a portion of spring training.
The revelation comes several paragraphs into Joel Sherman’s Saturday afternoon column in the New York Post. Sherman notes that Manfred has the ultimate power on these decisions and can structure the penalty as he sees fit. He says that could include banning Chapman from spring training workouts and/or games in which fans are charged for admission.
Meanwhile, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News points out that a spring training ban is hardly certain. For all we know it’s not even on the table, but it’s something that can’t be completely ruled out.
Assuming Chapman is disciplined by Manfred — as most in the game believe he will be — the possibilities include a ban from major-league camp, a ban from all team facilities including minor-league camp, or simply a suspension from regular-season games which would allow Chapman to remain with the team between now and Opening Day.
The focus is on Chapman in the case because it’s the New York media involved in relaying the information. Based on what we’ve learned here though, the same potential punishments should also exist for Jose Reyes and Yasiel Puig, the two other players currently being investigated under the league’s domestic violence policy.
Reyes is the only one of the three facing criminal charges — his trial begins on April 4— so his punishment could truly set the bar. Until one or all three are punished though, there’s no real precedent to go off of, including whether or not a spring training ban is something that could regularly come into play.
It’s a wait-and-see situation right now, which is something Yankees general manager Brian Cashman knew he was getting into when he traded for Chapman this winter. Even as spring training begins and this new information looms, he seems content sitting back and letting the process play out.
“I have nothing to say in terms of expectations,’’ Cashman said. “I am not part of the investigation, not privy to their knowledge. They have shown they have a pretty impressive investigative team.’’
Cashman said he didn’t want to speak about Chapman, if suspended, being able to participate in spring training.
“I don’t want to speculate,” Cashman said. “I believe that is the case but I can’t speak with accuracy.”
Chapman did get in a bullpen session early on Saturday, which created some buzz at Yankees’ camp. Now the question is: when and where will his next bullpen session take place?
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