With Los Angeles Dodgers position players expected to report for Spring Training by Feb. 24, Major League Baseball’s investigation of Yasiel Puig continues to linger on.
Puig was involved in a scuffle with a bouncer outside of a Miami bar back in November, with the incident allegedly beginning after employees noticed the outfielder getting physical with his sister.
However, evidence was not found to support that claim, and Puig and the bouncer both agreed not to press charges.
The Cuban Native said he threw a punch out of self defense. While Puig avoided criminal charges, he’s not yet been cleared by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
Along with Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes and New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, Puig being investigation by the league under the domestic violence policy that allows Manfred to discipline players for “just cause.”
Of the aforementioned trio, only Reyes was arrested. It was announced on Thursday that Broward prosecutors will not press charges against Chapman. From the league’s perspective, a previous report indicated their investigations would conclude no later than March 1.
The Dodgers’ Cactus League opener is scheduled for March 3 against the Chicago White Sox. On Thursday, Manfred noted the timetable to closing the investigations hinges on external factors that he is cautious to overstep, according to Ronald Blum of the Associated Press:
“I would love to have these resolved before we begin play again,” Manfred said. “The one thing I’ve learned about these cases is timing is not mine, right? You have to really rely on the criminal process playing out in order to put yourself in a position that you’re comfortable to actually know what the facts are.”
Given the investigations of Chapman, Puig and Reyes are the first of their nature under the domestic violence policy, Manfred stressed the importance of being mindful of setting a precedent:
“When you have a new policy, the first ones take on a special significance in terms of tone and precedent and all those things,” Manfred said. “So I’m going to make sure that I know everything I could possibly know about each of these cases before I make any decisions.”
The Commissioner’s comments reflect those made by MLB executive Joe Torre last December. He too stated the process of arriving at a decision would not be rushed. Puig is looking to rebound from a season in which he played a career-low 79 games.