Dusty Baker defends Aroldis Chapman, backs MLB domestic violence policy

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Nationals manager Dusty Baker weighed in Tuesday on an alleged domestic violence incident involving Aroldis Chapman, saying that he supports baseball's domestic violence policy but also questioning whether "reports" about the Reds closer are true.

Chapman's girlfriend told police that the pitcher "pushed" and "choked" her during an altercation on Oct. 30, according to police reports obtained by ESPN.

"I don't believe reports," Baker said Tuesday from baseball's winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee. "Who knows why? I'm not one to judge on how the whole thing happened. ... I mean, who's to say the allegations are true. And who's to say what you would have done or what caused the problem."

Baker, who managed Chapman for four seasons in Cincinnati, said that he did not read any information about the incident but acknowledged that he heard about it from his son. When asked what he knew about Chapman, Baker said he "had nothing but love for the young man."

"Oh, he's a heck of a guy," Baker said Tuesday from baseball's winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee. "I mean, a heck of a guy. I'll go on record and say I wouldn't mind having Chapman. He is a tremendous young man with a great family, mom and dad, and what he went through to get here and what his family had to go through to get here -- I was with him through the whole process."

Baker, who is entering his first season as Washington's manager, also touched on baseball's domestic violence policy.

"I think it's a great thing," Baker said. "I mean, I got a buddy at home that's being abused by his wife. So I think this policy needs to go further than the player. I think the policy should go to whoever's involved. Sometimes abusers don't always have pants on."

Baker, 66, attempted to clarify his comments in a separate interview later Tuesday with ESPN's Pedro Gomez, reiterating that he hasn't seen the police report of the incident and that he does not condone domestic violence.

"I did an interview earlier and apparently I'm in hot water for what I said," Baker told Gomez. "What I should have said, and what I was trying to say, is that 'Hey man, I don't condone violence at all.'

"Because, I mean, I wasn't raised like that. I don't know anybody else that should've been raised like that. The thing that I really, really want to tell everybody is that you have to wait to see what happens. And, I'm not one to judge prematurely. But there's no way that I condone domestic violence. I'm one of the guys that is most against it. I haven't seen the police report. I haven't seen anything."

Baker also discussed the Chapman incident in an interview with ESPN's Marly Rivera.

"All I can say is that I hope [the domestic violence incident involving Chapman] didn't happen," he said. "I hope it didn't happen. I don't condone that in my house."

No arrests were made during the police investigation of Chapman "due to conflicting information and lack of cooperation from all parties involved." According to the report, the case was brought to Assistant State Attorney Marcie Zaccor, who decided there wasn't enough evidence to charge Chapman with simple battery.

However, according to a spokesperson from the Broward State Attorney's office, that decision was based on a preliminary, informal phone conversation. The State Attorney's office has since requested reports from the Davie Police Department so it can review the matter further.

A reported trade of Chapman to the Dodgers is currently in limbo. Sources told ESPN's Mark Saxon that the Dodgers continue to work on other bullpen options and the Chapman deal is "certainly not trending" toward completion.

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