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Yankees closer Chapman accepts 30-game suspension

AP

New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman agreed to accept a 30-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, a penalty stemming from an incident with his girlfriend last October.

Under the discipline announced Tuesday, the four-time All-Star will serve the penalty from the start of the Yankees’ season on April 4. He will lose 30 days of pay – $1,856,557 of his $11,325,000 salary. The agreement specifies he will be eligible for free agency after this season barring any additional suspension for off-the-field conduct.

“I found Mr. Chapman’s acknowledged conduct on that day to be inappropriate … particularly his use of a firearm and the impact of that behavior on his partner,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “I am gratified that Mr. Chapman has taken responsibility for his conduct.”

Baseball’s investigation of Chapman stemmed from Oct. 30. Chapman’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Cristina Barnea, told police he pushed and choked her. Chapman said there was an argument but that he was pushed down by Barnea’s brother, eventually getting a handgun and firing eight shots into a wall and window while locked in his garage.

The Davie Police Department and Broward Assistant State Attorney Stefanie Newman declined to file charges, saying conflicting accounts and insufficient evidence made a conviction unlikely. Under MLB’s domestic violence policy, a player may be punished without a conviction.

Chapman, the hardest-throwing pitcher in the major leagues, was traded from Cincinnati to the Yankees in December. He had said he would contest any suspension, but a deal was reached following negotiations with MLB.

“I want to be clear, I did not in any way harm my girlfriend that evening,” Chapman said in a statement. “However, I should have exercised better judgment with respect to certain actions, and for that I am sorry.”

Obama will see Rays’ exhibition in Cuba

President Barack Obama plans to attend the Tampa Bay Rays’ March 22 exhibition game against the Cuban National Team in Havana.

It will be MLB’s first trip to the communist island nation since the Baltimore Orioles played there in 1999. The game will be televised by ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

Clearing the bases

The Royals signed All-Star catcher Salvador Perez to a contract through 2021 that guarantees him an additional $52.5 million over five seasons. He hit .260 with a career-best 21 homers and 70 RBIs last season. … Marlins right-handed reliever Carter Capps was awaiting a second opinion on an MRI of his right elbow, fearing an injury that would end his bid for the closer’s job before spring training games even begin.

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