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MLB Investigating Allegations Omar Vizquel Committed Domestic Abuse Against Wife

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2020

FILE - In this Aug. 5, 2016 file photo, Detroit Tigers first base coach Omar Vizquel peers into the stands while watching an interleague baseball game against the New York Mets from the dugout in Detroit. Vizquel came short on the latest election for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but his name appeared on 52.5% of ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, so he remains confident that he’ll be elected one day. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)
Duane Burleson/Associated Press

Major League Baseball has launched an investigation into domestic abuse allegations brought against former All-Star shortstop Omar Vizquel by Blanca Vizquel, his estranged wife.

Katie Strang and Ken Rosenthal of the The Athletic reported Wednesday that Blanca fled the family home in August before filing for divorce.

"I don't have anything to say. This is a divorce and I know she's really pissed off," Omar Vizquel told The Athletic. "There is a lot of things [being said] out there about things supposedly happening behind closed doors, you know. I don't have anything to say about that, either. It's just a divorce."

An attorney told the outlet Vizquel "flatly denies any allegations of domestic violence."

"It's devastating because the person you love is supposed to protect you, and when [he's] the one who's hurting you ... it's like slow motion and you're scared and then the police are there, and you know you can't take it back," Blanca told The Athletic about a night when Vizquel was handcuffed and taken to a police car at their family home in January 2016.

Vizquel is currently the manager of the Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican League, which is one of three leagues at the Triple-A level of MLB's minor league system. It doesn't have a direct MLB affiliate, though.

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"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," the league said in a statement to The Athletic.

The league also investigated Vizquel over an incident with a male employee of the Chicago White Sox's Double-A affiliate Birmingham Barons in 2019 that led to Vizquel being fired shortly before his contract as team manager was up.

The 11-time Gold Glove winner is entering his fourth year as a Baseball Hall of Fame candidate. He received 52.6 percent of the vote in 2020, short of the 75 percent threshold necessary for induction.

A representative for Vizquel provided The Athletic with an 11-page defense of their client, which refers to the allegations as a "smear campaign" against him.

Blanca and Omar met in 2008 and were married in 2014. Blanca said their relationship briefly improved after the previously mentioned night in January 2016, but she went on to say she stayed with him out of fear once the confrontations began again.

"People are scared and I was, too," she told The Athletic. "I was scared for these moments for a long time. And I stayed because of that."

About the decision to leave in August, she added: "I made a decision to leave the house and not come back. I didn't want to feel that feeling where you didn't know if you're gonna be safe."

She also alleged Vizquel's fans have posted hateful messages on her Instagram page, including some saying she should kill herself.

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