TORONTO – Roberto Osuna is eligible to begin a rehabilitation assignment July 14, giving the Toronto Blue Jays closer 22 days to work himself back into shape before the end of his 75-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s joint domestic violence policy.
Under terms of the current collective bargaining agreement, players suspended 51 games or more can be assigned to a minor-league team for 15 days during the punishment’s duration. But the extra week was negotiated between the commissioner’s office and the players’ association.
Osuna, whose ban was third longest handed out under the domestic violence policy and runs through Aug. 4, will receive neither salary nor service during his rehab stint.
The 23-year-old is due in court Monday after lawyer Domenic Basile represented him during a June 18 hearing. At that time, Basile requested and was granted time to speak with the crown in search of a resolution to an assault charge laid against him by Toronto police May 8.
Speaking to reporters after that court appearance, Baile said Osuna would plead not guilty but he would be "working in a manner that I’m hoping to avoid a conviction." His hope was to have a resolution for the court in time for Monday’s hearing.
The manner in which the charge is resolved is crucial because a conviction or even a partial or conditional discharge could potentially impact Osuna’s visa status.
Still, with Major League Baseball handing down its 75-game suspension June 22 and the agreement on the length of the rehab stint, it’s possible that the criminal proceedings against Osuna may soon reach a resolution.
Last week, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins described Osuna as "our closer," and manager John Gibbons said Saturday that once Aug. 5 arrives, "I’ll be glad to see him."
"I’m very disappointed in what happened," Gibbons added, "but I love the kid. I’ve been with him since he arrived here. I hope it’s all resolved. Whatever the penalty is, whether it’s counselling, whatever it might be, I hope he turns his life around."
Tyler Clippard is currently closing games for the Blue Jays with Ryan Tepera on the disabled list and Gibbons didn’t promise Osuna an immediate return to the ninth inning once he does arrive.
"If he comes back I don’t know if he’d do it right away," said Gibbons. "We’ll take a look at it but maybe give him a couple of outings. Hopefully there’s a few save chances. But if he comes back and he’s on the team, he’ll eventually be our closer again. I’m not going to punish him like that."