- The Washington Times - Friday, July 30, 2021

The Washington Nationals will release infielder Starlin Castro after he completes an unpaid 30-game suspension as Major League Baseball found he violated the league’s domestic violence policy, the team announced Friday.

Castro has been on MLB‘s administrative leave list since July 16 as the league investigated a violation of its domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. That leave was extended to July 29, and MLB announced Friday that the investigation deemed Castro violated the policy.

He was handed a 30-game unpaid suspension and will be ineligible to play in the 2021 postseason. He also will be required to “participate in a confidential and comprehensive evaluation and treatment program supervised by the Joint Policy Board,” MLB said.

“My office has completed its investigation into the allegations that Starlin Castro violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Castro violated our policy and that discipline is appropriate.”

Castro hit .283 this season for Washington, with three homers and 38 RBIs. He was placed on the restricted list June 16 to deal with what manager Dave Martinez described at the time as a “family matter.” Martinez later said he was unaware of the domestic violence accusation, although the June stint on the restricted list and the accusation are believed to be separate incidents.

Castro was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in 2011, but charges were not filed. At the time, a Cook County, Illinois, spokesperson told the Chicago Sun-Times that there was “insufficient evidence to bring forth criminal charges” against Castro.

On July 20, Nats General Manager Mike Rizzo said he didn’t expect Castro to be back with the team this year. He took responsibility for the vetting process of Castro and said the team has “zero tolerance” for domestic violence.

The team backed up that stance after MLB announced its discipline of Castro, opting to release him once his suspension expires.

“We take all allegations of abuse and harassment very seriously,” the Nationals statement read. “We fully support the Commissioner’s decision and will be releasing Starlin Castro upon the completion of his suspension. Per the terms of the policy, we will have no further comment on this matter.”

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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