Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, amid domestic violence allegations, has been suspended 40 games for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy, commissioner Rob Manfred announced Wednesday.
“My office has completed its investigation into the allegations that Addison Russell violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy,” Manfred said in a statement. “Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Russell violated the Policy and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension that will cover 40 games.”
Russell has accepted the suspension, which is retroactive to Sept. 21, and will not appeal, the statement said. He also will participate in a confidential and comprehensive evaluation and treatment program, which will be supervised by MLB’s Joint Policy Board.
Russell, who has denied the allegations, was placed on administrative leave Sept. 21, after his ex-wife, Melisa Reidy, reiterated claims of domestic abuse.
“After gaining a full understanding of the situation, I have concluded it’s in the best interest of my family to accept MLB’s proposed resolution of this matter,” Russell said in a statement released by his attorneys Wednesday. “I wish my ex-wife well and hope we can live in peace for the benefit of our child.”
Said Reidy: “I’m so relieved it’s over. Now I can focus on helping more women.”
Russell would be eligible to play on May 3 of next season, barring any postponements. He already missed 11 regular-season games this year after being placed on administrative leave.
“Clearly we support MLB’s finding and Addy’s decision to accept the suspension,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said Wednesday. “We all have an obligation to be part of the solution. Discipline is part of the solution, so we support MLB’s decision, but prevention is also part of the solution.
“It’s our obligation to see what we can do better going forward. To see what we can do to prevent this from ever happening again.”
Russell was not on the wild-card roster as the Cubs were eliminated at home by the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
Epstein was asked if Russell will return for the Cubs next season. Russell would become a free agent this offseason if the Cubs do not tender him a contract.
“I don’t know,” Epstein said. “With all of our words and actions going forward, whether we know it or not, we’re sending messages to our fans.
“The victim deserves our outreach and our support. That will be forthcoming, very quickly. Addy should not be completely dismissed. He needs our help moving forward as well.”
MLB had started an investigation last year after allegations first became public.
Reidy had posted a photo on her Instagram account with a caption suggesting her husband of about 18 months had been unfaithful to her. In another post, a user — described by Reidy as a close friend — claimed Russell had “hit” his wife. The post was later deleted. Reidy declined to talk to MLB at the time, because she decided it was not in her family’s best interests, her attorney, Thomas Field, said last year.
Last month, a blog post attributed to Reidy described more detailed allegations, including years of physical and emotional abuse. Less than 12 hours later, MLB announced Russell had been put on leave under MLB’s domestic violence policy.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Associated Press last month that the department had not launched a criminal investigation but that detectives would look at the allegations “further and have already reached out to the Cubs.”
Chicago acquired Russell in a July 2014 trade with the Oakland Athletics. He helped the Cubs win the World Series two years ago, batting .238 with 21 home runs and 95 RBIs in 151 games that season.
Russell hit .250 with 5 home runs and 38 RBIs in 130 games this season.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers contributed to this report.