BY RONALD BLUM
The Associated Press
NEW YORK – Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was placed on paid leave Tuesday under Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy pending completion of criminal proceedings. He will not report to spring training.
The 32-year-old Reyes, a four-time All-Star, was arrested in Hawaii at a Maui resort on Oct. 31 following an argument with his wife and pleaded not guilty to a charge of abuse of a family or household member. He was released after posting $1,000 bail and is scheduled for a trial starting April 4, the day the Rockies open the season at Arizona.
Reyes became the first player impacted by the policy, agreed to in August by MLB and the players’ association following a series of high-profile domestic violence cases involving NFL players. New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig also are under investigation.
MLB said Commissioner Rob Manfred will not decide on possible discipline for Reyes until after the criminal proceedings and an MLB investigation. Discipline is not dependent on a criminal conviction.
Under the policy, a player can be placed on paid leave in “exceptional cases” pending a legal proceeding if the commissioner determines allowing him to play “would result in substantial and irreparable harm to either the club or to Major League Baseball.”
While the policy calls it a paid suspension, MLB in its statement termed it leave. While players do not earn salary during spring training, Reyes will start accruing his $22 million salary on April 3, the day the MLB season opens. If the discipline becomes an unpaid suspension, he has the right to offset the time served against the penalty but must repay any salary he received during the paid suspension.
The players’ union has the right to challenge the decision before an arbitrator.
“We are closely monitoring the proceedings in Hawaii, as well as the commissioner’s actions,” the union said in a statement. “If further discipline is issued or if Mr. Reyes’ paid suspension is not resolved in a timely fashion, the players’ association will work with Mr. Reyes to ensure that all of his rights under the policy are protected.”
Reyes signed with the Mets in 1999 and made all of his All-Star appearances with New York. He left after the 2011 season to sign a $106 million, six-year contract with the Miami Marlins, who traded him to Toronto after one season.
Colorado, which starts full-squad workouts Thursday, acquired Reyes last July from Toronto in a deal that sent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins to the Blue Jays.
Barring any acquisitions, Colorado’s options at shortstop appear to be 29-year-old Daniel Descalso and 24-year-old Cristhian Adames.
Chapman, acquired by the Yankees from Cincinnati in December, is under investigation for an incident at his house in Florida in October involving his girlfriend. Chapman is alleged to have fired a gun during the incident.
Prosecutors declined to file charges. Chapman has said he would appeal any suspension to baseball’s arbitrator.
Puig got into a fight with a bouncer at a Miami bar in November following an argument with his sister.