Blue Jays’ Osuna won’t be in attendance for first court date

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna has struggled of late. (Fred Thornhill/CP)

TORONTO – Roberto Osuna’s first court date in connection with the assault charge he’s facing is set for Monday afternoon, a largely procedural hearing that the Toronto Blue Jays closer will not attend.

Toronto criminal defence lawyer Domenic Basile will appear on the 23-year-old’s behalf at the Old City Hall courthouse, where a date for a pre-trial conference with the crown to discuss the case will be set, he said during a brief interview.

A significant portion of the evidence the crown has against Osuna has already been disclosed to Basile, and their pre-trial discussions will set the stage for the next court hearing, possibly in two or three weeks, he added.

Osuna was arrested and charged with assaulting a woman May 8 and he’s since been on a paid administrative leave issued by Major League Baseball under terms of the Joint MLB-MLBPA domestic violence policy.

The fourth seven-day extension of his leave runs through Monday and league officials may wait to see what happens in court before deciding how to proceed. In previous cases, officials have issued discipline without a conviction in court or before a court judgment has been rendered.

For instance, outfielder Hector Olivera, then of the Atlanta Braves, was arrested on domestic violence charges April 13, 2016, suspended for 82 games on May 26 and found guilty of domestic assault Sept. 8.

Regardless of what happens with in court for Osuna, Olivera’s situation may offer a kind of precedent for MLB to follow.

Osuna has already missed 36 games on leave, and punishments handout out by baseball to other players violating its domestic violence policy have been issued retroactively to cover time spent on leave.

Details of the incident haven’t been released although as part of the conditions of Osuna’s release, he was ordered to not communicate with the woman he allegedly assaulted, to stay 100 metres away from his condo, to not buy, possess or consume alcohol and to not possess any weapons.

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