Derek Norris denies abuse claims of his ex-fiancee

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Yesterday, the former fiancee of Rays’ catcher Derek Norris claimed on her personal Instagram account that she suffered physical and mental abuse from Norris (she did not mention him by name, but her description strongly suggests that she’s referring to Norris). ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported a few hours later that Major League Baseball had launched an official investigation pursuant to its domestic violence policy.

Today Norris issued a statement to the Tampa Bay Times denying the allegations:

“First, I want to be absolutely clear that abuse of any form, is completely unacceptable. Allegations regarding this issue are a very serious matter and should not be taken lightly under any circumstances. That being said, in this circumstance, the comments made by my ex-fiancee could not be further from the truth. I have NEVER been physically or emotionally abusive towards her, or anyone else in my life. … I plan to go above and beyond to assist MLB with their investigation into this matter.”

As we have often noted since MLB adopted its policy, neither investigations nor punishments under the policy are dependent upon arrests, criminal charges or criminal conviction. We will, presumably, hear nothing more about this until MLB has completed its investigation.

Dodgers to retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 this summer

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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will retire the No. 34 jersey of pitcher Fernando Valenzuela during a three-day celebration this summer.

Valenzuela was part of two World Series champion teams, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He was a six-time All-Star during his 11 seasons in Los Angeles from 1980-90.

He will be honored from Aug. 11-13 when the Dodgers host Colorado.

Valenzuela will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale with retired numbers.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans, the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.”