Yankees relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman says Tuesday that he feels like heâ€™s been treated unfairly by the media following his alleged domestic violence issues.
TAMPA â€” Donâ€™t believe everything you hear.
That was Aroldis Chapmanâ€™s message Tuesday as the controversial Yankees reliever continues to await Major League Baseballâ€™s decision on a possible suspension for domestic violence allegationsÂ stemming from an October incident at his Miami home.
While Commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to rule on Chapmanâ€™s situation sometime this week, Chapman reiterated his plan to file an appeal if he is suspended. â€œIf it doesnâ€™t go my way, Iâ€™m just going to appeal; I havenâ€™t hurt anybody,â€ Chapman said through Yankees translator Marlon Abreu. â€œIn general, I never hurt anybody. Never in my life.â€
â€œObviously you hope thatâ€™s the case,â€ manager Joe Girardi said. â€œAnd it appears from what Iâ€™ve read, I donâ€™t think there were marks on her, if I read that correctly. But abuse doesnâ€™t always need to be physical. Itâ€™s not always physical; thereâ€™s mental abuse, thereâ€™s all kinds of abuse. But you hope that thatâ€™s the case.â€
Chapman has not yet reached out to the MLB players association regarding a potential appeal.
The lefthander was back in camp Tuesday afterÂ being excused by the YankeesÂ for Mondayâ€™s workout. Chapman said his absence had nothing to do with the domestic violence allegations being investigated by Major League Baseball. â€œNo, not at all,â€ Chapman said â€œI was home (in Miami), taking care of some personal things. â€¦ Itâ€™s a family matter.â€
Florida prosecutors previously announced they would not file criminal charges against Chapman, who allegedly pushed and choked his girlfriend, Cristina Barnea, then fired multiple gunshots inside his garage. Last week, Chapman said there was nothing in the police report that needed clarification, but the 27-year-old said Tuesday he believes he has been portrayed unfairly since the alleged incident. â€œJust a little bit,â€ Chapman said. â€œThatâ€™s not my character or the person I am.â€
Girardi said he finally read the police report in recent days, noting that there were different accounts of the incident.
â€œI donâ€™t know if weâ€™ll ever truly know exactly what happened, but there are different accounts,â€ Girardi said. â€œObviously when thereâ€™s domestic violence brought up, itâ€™s a concern. Itâ€™s a real concern. Itâ€™s a concern in our society for me. You worry about it.â€
Girardi continued to support Chapman despite the allegations, saying management and teammates â€œhave a responsibility to each other to help each other.
My thought is to make people better people and to try to help them with situations that theyâ€™ve gone (through) in their life.â€
Girardi has a long history of disregarding public views of a player when he joins the Yankees, choosing to form his own opinion based on personal interaction. The language barrier may slightly hinder Girardiâ€™s ability to get to know Chapman, but the manager looks at myriad factors in establishing that opinion.
â€œFor me, itâ€™s trying to listen carefully, to watch how he reacts to certain situations,â€ Girardi said. â€œTo talk to him in short spurts, to see how he interacts with his teammates, to see how he interacts around coaches. Weâ€™ll see him a little bit outside of the baseball field in some of the things we do as a team to see how he interacts there. Relationships take time. Itâ€™s little bits and pieces that you try to gather along the way.â€
Told of Chapmanâ€™s belief that he has been painted unfairly in stories since the news came out in December, Girardi said he tends to take his playerâ€™s word until he has reason not to. â€œI think you give players the benefit of the doubt until they let you down or you feel that they havenâ€™t been truthful with you,â€ Girardi said. â€œItâ€™s important that the manager feels that the players trust them, on the field and off the field. But when you hear things, youâ€™re going to pay attention and watch closely to see if a player is being honest or not being honest.â€
A source told the Daily News this weekend that a suspension could include a ban from spring training, though the L.A. Times reported Tuesday that exhibition games will not be part of the discipline. Girardiâ€™s understanding was that there was still a chance Chapman would be prohibited from taking part in paid-admission games as part of a potential suspension. GM Brian Cashman said Girardi was â€œjust speculating,â€ as the Yankees have not been involved in MLBâ€™s process on the matter.
Yankees position players report to camp Wednesday, with the first full-squad workout set for Thursday. Carlos Beltran, one of the most respected veterans in the clubhouse, said he and his fellow players will do what they can to help Chapman adapt to his new surroundings.
â€œHe went through a tough situation and I bet he wants to forget about the moment, about what he went through, and move forward,â€ Beltran said. â€œAs a teammate, weâ€™re going to support him and be there for him and help him out. Iâ€™m very happy heâ€™s with us. I like him.
â€œEveryone deserves a second chance.â€
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