Discipline process about to play out for Aroldis Chapman

TAMPA, Fla. -- Sunday is Aroldis Chapman’s 28th birthday, but Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark could offer no concrete words of optimism to the New York Yankees pitcher regarding his looming suspension by MLB for his involvement in an alleged domestic violence incident last October.

In fact, if Chapman is suspended soon by commissioner Rob Manfred, the league and the union are likely to fight over whether Chapman should be allowed to participate in spring training while he appeals the suspension. Sparing you Clark's unique blend of pedantic pseudo-legalese, it seems that there is no hard-and-fast rule in baseball's newly adopted domestic violence policy that specifically states that a player can or cannot continue to play or work out while appealing a suspension.

The sense I got from talking to Clark -- and questioning him repeatedly in an effort to reach clarity -- is that if Manfred chooses to suspend Chapman, the union would not only appeal, but argue that Chapman should be allowed to continue to take part in spring training drills and games while his grievance is being prepared. If, however, Manfred chooses to place Chapman on administrative (paid) leave, as he did with Jose Reyes last week, Chapman would not be allowed to participate. (Why Manfred would place Chapman on administrative leave is open to question; unlike in Reyes' case, there is no pending criminal case to ultimately guide the commissioner in his discipline).

"In the case of domestic violence, each individual case is different," Clark said. "I don’t know what to expect or anticipate this time. Nothing is set in stone until the process one way or another finishes."