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Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna charged with assault


    Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna during a game against the Minnesota Twins on May 1.

TORONTO >> All-Star closer Roberto Osuna of the Toronto Blue Jays was charged with assault today and put on administrative leave by Major League Baseball, preventing him from playing for at least a week.

Toronto Police declined to say whether it was domestic assault. Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu said the charge is for one count of assault but provided no further details.

Osuna, who is from Mexico, is scheduled to appear in court June 18.

Administrative leave is not considered discipline. Osuna goes on the restricted list and continues to receive his $5.3 million salary, but is ineligible to play.

The Blue Jays recalled right-hander Jake Petricka from Triple-A Buffalo to take Osuna’s spot on the roster.

The leave lasts seven days, giving the commissioner’s office time to investigate. The commissioner’s office can request an extension, and Osuna could challenge the leave before Mark Irvings, baseball’s independent arbitrator.

Commissioner Rob Manfred also has the option of suspending Osuna either without pay, or with pay pending the resolution of legal proceedings — a penalty that later could be converted to without pay. Osuna could challenge any discipline before Irvings.

In a statement, MLB said it “takes all allegations of this nature very seriously” and is investigating. The Blue Jays released a statement saying they “fully support” MLB’s decision to place Osuna on leave.

“The type of conduct associated with this incident is not reflective of our values as an organization,” the Blue Jays statement said, adding the team would not comment further because of the ongoing police investigation.

The 23-year-old Osuna is 0-0 with nine saves and a 2.93 ERA in 15 games this season. The righty was an All-Star last year when he was 3-4 with 39 saves and a 3.38 ERA.

In April, Osuna became the youngest player in big league history to record 100 career saves.

Last June, Osuna publicly acknowledged he was dealing with anxiety, saying he was out of sorts mentally and feeling lost.

The Blue Jays had planned to give away 15,000 T-shirts featuring Osuna at Thursday’s game against Seattle. The team announced Tuesday it was changing the promotion and moving up a giveaway of shirts featuring infielder Yangervis Solarte.

Manager John Gibbons said the team will mix and match at closer while Osuna is out, using John Axford, Tyler Clippard and Seung Hwan Oh and Ryan Tepera.

General manager Ross Atkins said it was difficult to learn the news of Osuna’s arrest.

“You can’t express it in words, the feeling that you have,” Atkins said. “It’s a physical feeling, an emotional feeling that you hate to get, you hate to have.”

Gibbons said he has a close connection with Osuna but made it clear he doesn’t condone assault.

“I love the kid, not because of what he’s done for us on the field, but because of who he is and my relationship with him over the years,” Gibbons said. “But really, in society in general, there’s got to be a zero tolerance policy. You’ve got to protect the vulnerable and those who can’t protect themselves.”

The Blue Jays were 19-16 going into Tuesday night’s game against Seattle.

MLB and the players’ union agreed on a domestic violence policy in 2015. It allows the league to discipline a player for an alleged domestic violence incident regardless of whether the charges result in a trial.

Pitcher Aroldis Chapman was the first player disciplined under when the league suspended him for the first 30 games of the 2016 season. Days later, shortstop Jose Reyes was suspended 51 games.

“What we’ve seen over the last couple of years is Major League Baseball has taken very strong stances on situations like this one,” Atkins said. “The punishments have been strong in cases of guilty and not guilty. We support Major League Baseball in that effort.”

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