TAMPA, Fla. -- Major League Baseball has yet to announce whether it will suspend new New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman for domestic violence allegations, but if the league does end up penalizing Chapman, he said he will appeal.
"I understand that everybody is worried about this issue," said Chapman, surrounded by more than two dozen reporters on the first day pitchers and catchers officially reported to Yankees camp. "I understand that everybody wants to know, but it is something that is out of my hands. My main focus is to play baseball. I feel great. I'm happy to be here. I can't wait to get started."
Chapman, through Yankees translator Marlon Abreu, was asked if he considered anything inaccurate in a police report that was filed in Davie, Florida, on Oct. 30. Chapman said he did not.
In the report, Chapman was alleged to have choked his girlfriend and fired eight gunshots in a garage at his home after an argument with his girlfriend. Police ultimately decided not to press charges.
Though the legal process has ended, MLB is conducting an investigation under its new domestic violence policy. The players' association agreed to let commissioner Rob Manfred suspend a player even if there are no criminal charges.
Chapman said he has met with MLB investigators but not Manfred.
"I think there's an expectation of conduct and how you're supposed to handle situations that maybe in the court of law is different than the court of Major League Baseball's opinion or the players' association's opinion or the public's opinion," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I understand that. I think we have a responsibility as athletes on the way we present ourselves on and off the field, and I'm OK with that."
Girardi began his news conference Thursday by saying there were no big stories entering this year, unlike the previous three years, in which Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter began their retirement tours and Alex Rodriguez returned from suspension. After around half of the 32-minute news conference was spent on questions relating to Chapman, Girardi amended his answer to say that Chapman is the big story this camp.
If Chapman is suspended, it could cost him his shot at free agency. If he were to be penalized 46 games or more, he would not be eligible for free agency after the season and would have to wait until after the 2017 season to test the market.
"Regarding the MLB investigation, they will make their decision," Chapman told ESPN's Marly Rivera. "They are investigating, doing their job, and the only thing I have left to do is to wait."
Chapman is due to make $11.235 million this season.