PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies informed center fielder Odubel Herrera on Tuesday morning that he has been placed on administrative leave as Major League Baseball investigates an alleged domestic violence incident that happened Monday night in Atlantic City, N.J.
Herrera was arrested on a charge of simple assault.
The administrative leave is pursuant to MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Herrera can remain on leave up to seven days, but it can be extended if MLB and the MLB Players Association agree to it. According to an Atlantic City police report, a 20-year-old woman “had visible signs of injury to her arms and neck that was sustained after being assaulted by her boyfriend.” The Press of Atlantic City reported that police located Herrera in his hotel room at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino and arrested him without incident. Herrera was released on a summons.
“Domestic violence is unacceptable all the time every time and that’s from a societal perspective, the Phillies’ perspective, my personal perspective,” manager Gabe Kapler said.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak learned of Herrera’s arrest while attending a morning meeting for next week’s 2019 Draft. He said he immediately informed team president Andy MacPhail, the team’s ownership group and Kapler. The Phils then contacted Major League Baseball.
“By rule anytime we hear of an incident involving domestic violence,” Klentak said, “we have to report that to the league, which is what we did. We spent the better part of the morning with the league figuring out next steps and learning more information. During that time, we became aware of the police report. … I think the best approach in this matter is to operate with an element of transparency and honesty. As we get more information we'll share it.”
Klentak, Kapler and team interpreter Diego Ettedgui had a brief conversation with Herrera over the phone. It was the first time the Phillies had heard from Herrera since police arrested him.
“No explanation,” Klentak said, “but he did apologize.”
Philadelphia recalled Nick Williams from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Herrera’s spot on the roster. Scott Kingery is expected to play center field against left-handed pitchers, and Williams is expected to play left field (with Andrew McCutchen in center field) against right-handed pitchers. Klentak said the Phils asked MLB to remove Herrera from the All-Star Game ballot. Kingery took his place.
Kapler briefly addressed the team about Herrera’s arrest. He mentioned that the issue is a personal one for him. His ex-wife was in an abusive relationship in high school. Kapler started a foundation in the 2000s to address domestic abuse at high schools in Southern California. They opened a shelter in the area.
“I can speak for myself and say it’s deeply disturbing,” Kapler said. “It’s not something you want to be dealing with. I’m personally not feeling great about it right now.”
Herrera is in the third year of a five-year, $30.5 million contract, which runs through 2021. He is making $5 million this season, $7 million next season and $10 million in '21. Herrera has club options for '22 and '23.
“The next step is to get the results of the investigation that's being conducted by the league and they'll work with the local law enforcement in Atlantic City,” Klentak said. “They'll work together. When we get the results of that investigation, then we will have to make our decision on what we do.”
Is there a chance Herrera will never play again for the Phillies?
“I think that's premature to speculate at this point,” Klentak said. “There's not enough information about what happened.
“There could be one or two steps coming, there could be another 20 steps coming before they have a result of their investigation. We just don't know. That's why I said there's no playbook for this. There's really not. We just have to take it a day at a time. What I am going to assure [reporters], just like I did at the outset, we're going to be transparent about this. We're not going to hide the ball. There's no secrets. Whatever we learn, we'll share it and the league will help us make whatever decision we're going to make.”
Asked why it is important to be transparent throughout this process, Kapler said, “It's an issue that extends far beyond baseball.”