New York Mets closing relief pitcher Jeurys Familia was issued a 15-game suspension Wednesday by Major League Baseball for an off-season domestic violence incident.
The 27-year-old Dominican, who pitched for his homeland in this month's World Baseball Classic, was arrested in New Jersey last October after allegedly bruising the right cheek and scratching the chest of his wife, Bianca Rivas.
A misdemeanor assault charge against Familia was dropped in December after the prosecutor said Rivas wished the matter to be dropped.
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred met with Familia on Monday regarding the incident.
Familia, who will not appeal the ban, can continue pitching in spring training and exhibition games before the Mets' season opener on Monday against the Atlanta Braves.
He will forfeit more than $700,000 in salary for 18 days of pay
"The evidence reviewed by my office does not support a determination that Mr. Familia physically assaulted his wife or threatened her or others with physical force or harm on October 31, 2016," Manfred said.
"Nevertheless, I have concluded that Mr. Familia's overall conduct that night was inappropriate, violated the Policy, and warrants discipline."
Manfred said Familia had a favorable evaluation from a counselor regarding his willingness to take steps to make certain he is not involved in another domestic violence incident.
Familia also agreed to speak to US and Dominican programs for rookies players to tell what he has learned during the process and will donate time and money to charities aimed at preventing domestic violence and treating victims, appearing for a domestic violence group in New York.
"It's important that it be known that I never physically touched, harmed or threatened my wife that evening," Familia said in a statement issued by the MLB Players Association.
"I did, however, act in an unacceptable manner and am terribly disappointed in myself ... I have learned from this experience, and have grown as a husband, a father, and a man."
Familia led Major League Baseball last season with 51 saves, a Mets one-season record, and finished with a 2.55 earned-run average and 84 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings.
In Familia's absence, the Mets will use Addison Reed as their closer. He went 4-2 last year with a 1.97 ERA.