Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred placed Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias on paid administrative leave Tuesday after Urias was arrested Monday night on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery.
The arrest was made after officers with the Los Angeles Police Department responded to reports of an incident in the parking lot of the Beverly Center at 8500 Beverly Blvd. Witnesses told police they saw a man later identified as Urias shove a woman, who then fell over.
The woman is Urias’ girlfriend, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
One person confirmed the existence of a surveillance video that is at the center of the investigation. Another person familiar with the evidence said the alleged victim had no marks on her body. Both people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the arrest.
Urias and the woman denied the incident was anything more than a verbal altercation, according to two law enforcement sources.
Authorities reviewed the video, which indicated the woman had been pushed, according to someone familiar with the police probe. LAPD officers in domestic violence cases typically seek independent evidence of violent acts, such as video, physical marks or other confirmation.
Urias, 22, was arrested about 9:30 p.m. and released on $20,000 bond about four hours later, according to an LAPD arrest log and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s jail inmate locator.
A native of Mexico, Urias could face severe repercussions beyond the league’s discipline procedure if convicted. Domestic violence convictions can be the basis for deportation. After former Los Angeles Kings player Slava Voynov pleaded no contest to a charge of corporal injury on his spouse in 2015, he was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He returned to Russia rather than face deportation.
“We learned about the alleged incident this morning and are in the process of gathering information,” the Dodgers said in a statement Tuesday. “As a result, we have no comment at this time regarding the incident. However, the very allegation of domestic violence must be taken seriously and addressed promptly, and we will cooperate fully with the authorities and Major League Baseball to ensure that that happens in this case.”
Major League Baseball will investigate the case during Urias’ administrative leave. A player can go on leave for up to seven days, but the commissioner’s office can extend that time, according to Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.
The commissioner’s office can reinstate Urias to the active roster after the leave or suspend him. The commissioner’s office would determine whether to suspend Urias through collectively bargained negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Assn.
Last summer, Roberto Osuna, then a reliever for the Toronto Blue Jays, received a 75-game suspension after an arrest on suspicion of assault. Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was given a 40-game ban last fall after allegations of physical and emotional abuse from his ex-wife.
But an investigation, which could take weeks, does not ensure punishment. Yasiel Puig, then with the Dodgers, was investigated after his involvement in a Miami bar fight in November 2015, but MLB ruled Puig didn’t violate its domestic violence policy. Puig wasn’t arrested in the incident.
The Dodgers have attempted to avoid employing players with a history of domestic violence allegations in recent years. In December 2015, trade talks with the Cincinnati Reds over closer Aroldis Chapman deteriorated after Yahoo Sports exposed a police report alleging Chapman fired a gun into his garage during an argument with a girlfriend.
“We're going to let the guys trained to go through this process do what they do and get the facts and that will give us a lot more clarity,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday.
Urias is considered one of baseball’s best young pitchers and a future cornerstone for the Dodgers. Signed out of Mexico as a 16-year-old in 2013, he made his major league debut in 2016 at age 19 and recorded a 3.39 ERA during the regular season before pitching in two postseason games.
His trajectory slowed when he tore the anterior capsule in his left shoulder and underwent surgery in June 2017, but Urias returned from the career-threatening injury to pitch as a reliever for the Dodgers last September. He made three relief appearances in the regular season and seven in the playoffs, helping the Dodgers reach the World Series for the second straight year.
The Dodgers have practiced caution with Urias’ workload this season, but injuries to starters Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill prompted the club to temporarily place Urias in the starting rotation. He moved to the bullpen after four starts and appeared in five games as a reliever. He owns a 3.18 ERA ith two saves in 28 ⅓ innings this season.