New Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker is under fire over comments he made this afternoon about one of his former players, who is currently involved in a domestic violence case.
A police department report released Tuesday said there was "insufficient evidence" to charge Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman in the Oct. 30 incident at his South Florida home because of conflicting stories, no cooperating witnesses and no physical injuries.
"Who's to say the allegations are true, number one, and who's to say what you would've done or what caused the problem?" Baker said at Major League Baseball's winter meetings in Nashville.
Joe Torre, MLB's chief baseball officer, said Tuesday that there is no timetable in making a decision on Chapman's status under the league's new domestic violence policy. He said the league first learned of the incident late Monday.
Baker, who said he did not read the report, said he supports the domestic violence policy.
"I've got a buddy at home who's being abused by his wife, so I think this policy needs to go further than the player," he said. "I think the policy should go to whoever's involved. Sometimes abusers don't always have pants on."
A couple of hours later, the Nationals tweeted a “clarification” from Baker.
“There's no way I would ever condone domestic violence. No way ... We gotta stop it, big time,” Baker told MLB Network Radio. I'm hoping that (the Chapman I knew) is innocent.”
According to the report, police arrived at the home in the Fort Lauderdale suburb after getting a call about a domestic incident. They spoke to Cristina Barnea, 22, who told officers that Chapman pushed her, put his hands around her neck and "choked" her during an argument in the theater at the pitcher's home. Family members broke up the argument and Chapman left the house, she said.
Barnea told police she heard gunshots a short time later and went outside and hid in the bushes until she could make contact with police. She left the couple's infant daughter inside the home.
Police say in the report they interviewed Chapman, who said the argument had happened during a party. He said he poked Barnea on the shoulder, telling her not to "talk to him like that." He said she fell to the ground, yelling.
Chapman told investigators Barnea's brother pushed him to the ground. Chapman said he got up, left the house, and got into the passenger seat of a 2015 Land Rover with his friend. Chapman said he punched the passenger window with his left fist, creating a laceration on the knuckle of his left pinky. At that point, he told investigators, he got his pistol from the glove box and locked himself in his garage. He fired seven rounds into a concrete wall and fired one round through a window before tossing the pistol aside.
Police said Chapman refused to give a sworn statement or sign an affidavit of the complaint. He signed a consent order allowing officers to search his garage.
Officers said Barnea collected her belongings and left the home.
On Nov. 3, investigators contacted Barnea's brother Dany Barnea, who also refused to provide a statement about the incident. The officer asked for his sister's phone number, but he refused to provide the number.
Davie police spokesman Dale Engle said the investigation is closed "pending any new evidence."
Baker formerly managed Chapman with the Reds.
“Oh, he's a heck of a guy. I mean, a heck of a guy. I'll go on record and say I wouldn't mind having Chapman,” Baker said. “No, no, 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.”