Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins expects Roberto Osuna back in lineup after suspension

Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins joined Tim and Sid, saying the MLB did a great job handling Roberto Osuna’s suspension and that he is still the team’s closer.

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays plan to re-integrate Roberto Osuna when he’s eligible to return Aug. 5, once the all-star closer has finished serving a 75-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s joint domestic violence policy.

While legal proceedings against Osuna following his May 8 arrest in connection with the assault of a woman are ongoing, he’s next due in court July 9, and general manager Ross Atkins spoke Friday of the 23-year-old pitching again for the club for the first time since the incident.

Major League Baseball handed down the suspension last Friday following its investigation of the incident, which is independent of what occurs in court.

“Roberto is our closer,” said Atkins. “We’re running a baseball team and our goal is to win championships. Roberto could potentially be very much a part of that. The word that comes to mind for me when you talk about that is empathy. That’s not just for Roberto, that’s for everyone involved, that’s where we’re going to spend our time and energy, on being empathetic and trying to understand. We don’t have a background in investigations.”

The 75-game ban is the third-longest baseball has handed out under the policy. Prominent players to have returned from punishments include Aroldis Chapman, Jose Reyes and Jeurys Familia, the first two with new teams, the latter back to the Mets.

Whether Blue Jays fans will be as welcoming to the return of Osuna, once among the club’s most popular players, is unclear.

“It’s a balance for sure and it’s something we take seriously and forever will take very seriously,” said Atkins. “It’s been extremely challenging for us to handle regardless of what the actual verdict is, it’s just the accusation and balancing that is extremely difficult for us.”

Osuna is currently working out at the club’s spring facility in Dunedin, Fla., and will be allowed to have a rehab assignment of roughly 15 days before his suspension expires.

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