MLB investigating Omar Vizquel for domestic abuse
Major League Baseball is investigating former shortstop Omar Vizquel following allegations of domestic abuse by his wife Blanca, who filed for divorce earlier this year.
"While Omar Vizquel has not been employed by a major-league organization for some time, we are aware of the allegations and will continue to look into them," MLB said in a statement obtained by Katie Strang and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
MLB originally investigated Vizquel after he was arrested in 2016 for fourth-degree domestic assault, report Strang and Rosenthal. Police were called to the couple's home in Sammamish, Washington, after Vizquel pushed Blanca, causing her to injure her shin and break multiple fingernails as she tried to stop her fall, according to a police report of the incident.
Blanca said she called their neighbor after barricading herself in the bathroom, and the neighbor contacted the King County Sheriff's Department. Blanca later asked prosecutors to drop the charges.
Vizquel, then a coach for the Detroit Tigers, was placed on a treatment plan for violating the league's joint domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy and instructed to "cease and desist from any hostile or threatening contact" with Blanca, according to a letter detailing the plan.
Following an argument with Vizquel this past August, Blanca fled their Arizona home and initiated divorce proceedings after six years of marriage, she told Strang and Rosenthal. Blanca posted an Instagram Live video in October in which she said in Spanish that "no one deserves to have violence against them."
MLB has interviewed Blanca, and it interviewed members of her family as recently as last week, according to Strang and Rosenthal.
"Let me be clear and unequivocal. I have never hit or been violent towards my wife, Blanca," Vizquel said Wednesday in a separate statement. "Any accusation to the contrary is false. The two incidents described in The Athletic, one in Alabama in 2011 and another in Washington in 2016, date back years ago and were either dismissed or closed.
"Blanca herself asked for the dismissal of the Washington case and both of us asserted to Alabama authorities that the 2011 incident was a verbal dispute over differences in our relationship. Furthermore, I have never asked anyone, to remain silent or lie about problems in our relationship. As I have done in the past, I will continue to cooperate with Major League Baseball, on any investigation into these matters."
MLB also investigated Vizquel during the 2019 season while he was managing the Birmingham Barons, the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, sources told Strang and Rosenthal. The Barons reportedly released Vizquel from his one-year contract a month early as a result of MLB's investigation into an incident involving another male employee of the team.
Vizquel, 53, is in his fourth year of Hall of Fame eligibility.
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