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Torre: MLB Didn't Know About Chapman Incident Until Monday, Investigation Ongoing

By Ashley Scoby

As so often happens when a new domestic violence accusation pops up in professional sports, answers were hard to come by on Tuesday.

MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre stepped to the podium at baseball's winter meetings, with the controversy of a domestic violence incident involving Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman swirling around him. A Yahoo report that dropped Monday detailed an incident from October, where Chapman allegedly choked and pushed his girlfriend and fired a gun eight times into his garage. Twelve police officers were dispatched to Chapman's house that night, according to the police reports.

According to the police, there was "insufficient evidence" to charge Chapman, and no arrests were made.

Now the MLB steps into the spotlight, with its shiny new policy on domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse in stark focus.

"Well, there's no grass growing under anybody's feet here," Torre said. "We're in the process of getting all information that's necessary."

According to Torre, MLB is investigating the Chapman incident and "there is no timetable" for when a decision could be reached on possible punishment, or dismissal of the accusations. He said MLB did not know about the situation until late Monday, which is also when the Yahoo story went live.

As chief baseball officer, Torre is oversees several areas, including "major league operations, on-field operations, on-field discipline and umpiring," according to He also leads the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, which works to combat domestic violence.

In addition to Chapman, Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes is also being investigated under the current policy, for an incident involving his wife.

"It takes time to gather information, and the same thing with the Jose Reyes thing," Torre said. "We want to make sure we have all the information and then the decision will be made. The only timetable is when we feel we've got as much information as we can get."

Chapman had reportedly been traded to the Dodgers, but that trade is now apparently on hold. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts spoke at winter meetings on Monday, before the Chapman news broke, and was not scheduled to be available to non-local reporters for the rest of the week.

When asked if the MLB or the individual clubs were responsible for the trade being on hold, Torre said it was a "labor decision."

MLB's recent policy on domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse stipulates that the commissioner's office investigate all allegations of such crimes, and that players could be placed on seven-day paid administrative leave during the investigation.

Under the new policy, there is also no minimum or maximum punishment, with the final decision coming from commissioner Rob Manfred.

Torre said he wasn't sure if players would be allowed to take the field while an investigation was being conducted. MLB's policy doesn't clearly state whether that is a possibility.

"As awful as this situation is, there are still rights that have to be protected, and so we're very careful in making sure that we respect that and get all the information and then we will proceed accordingly," he said.

Whether or not MLB knew of the allegations involving Chapman previously, or how much they knew, could be valid questions moving forward. According to the Boston Globe, the Red Sox pulled out of trade discussions about Chapman, after a background check revealed the October incident that was detailed in the Yahoo report.

With the NFL's gaffes involving Ray Rice (shown on video punching his then-fiancee) and Greg Hardy (originally convicted on domestic violence charges before having his record expunged), MLB is in a harsh spotlight. With an increased awareness of domestic violence and similar issues in sports, is there pressure – from the public and media alike – to make the right call?

"I mean, the policy has been written and no, I don't think we feel any pressure," Torre said. "We just want to make sure that we have everything before we come down with whatever decision has to be implemented. So I don't sense there's any pressure, other than paying attention to it and making sure that we do the right thing."

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