New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman plans to appeal any punishment levied by Major League Baseball as a result of a domestic dispute, Chapman said on Thursday, his first day in spring training with his new team.
Chapman was not charged in the dispute. He allegedly pushed and choked his girlfriend, and admitted to firing eight shots from a handgun in his garage.
"Focused on baseball," Chapman said Thursday.
A suspension could be significant for Chapman because of he could potentially have his first foray into free agency delayed until 2017. The 27-year-old would not accrue a year of needed service time to become a free agent if MLB suspends him 45 days or longer.
"We have to be sensitive about this," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Thursday. "To me, the most important thing for my players is that they're good people. If they have issues off the field sometimes it effects them on the field. I have a responsibility in that.
"It's hypothetical to predict what's going to happen. I understand it's a very sensitive issue and we'll be sensitive about it."
Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes and Los Angeles Dodgers outfield Yasiel Puig are also being investigated under the domestic violence policy, which could be addressed by commissioner Rob Manfred at Grapefruit League Media Days on Friday. Manfred has said he hopes to rule on any discipline before the start of the 2016 regular season.
Reyes is a no-show at the outset of spring training.
Other than a few Christmastime text messages from manager Walt Weiss, the team has not made contact with Reyes since he was charged with domestic violence in Hawaii on Oct. 31. While he pleaded not guilty to the charges, Reyes is subject to discipline under baseball's new domestic violence policy.
A trial is scheduled to begin April 4, the date of the Rockies' regular-season opener.
"I hope everything works out for Jose," Weiss said Wednesday. "He brings a certain energy to our club that was nice to see last year. But I've got to coach and manage the guys that are here."