CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner says reliever Aroldis Chapman is "innocent until proven otherwise."
New York acquired Chapman from Cincinnati last month, after a proposed trade between the Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers came apart when a Florida police investigation into an accusation of domestic violence involving the Cuban left-hander became public.
"In this country, when allegations are brought against a person, that person is completely innocent until proven otherwise. Not the other way around," Steinbrenner said Wednesday at baseball’s owner’s meetings.
According to a police report, Chapman’s girlfriend told officers he pushed her, put his hands around her neck and choked her during an argument. Police said there was not sufficient evidence to charge Chapman, and the pitcher’s lawyer, denied the reported allegations.
Major League Baseball is investigating and could discipline the pitcher under its new domestic violence policy.
New York sent right-handers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis and infielders Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda to Cincinnati. Chapman will close for a Yankees bullpen that also includes Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances.
"We did as much research as we possibly could, and that's what I'm going to do anytime I'm looking to get rid of some of my good young talent or spend $100 million signing a free agent," Steinbrenner said.