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Hall of Fame candidate Omar Vizquel has been accused of domestic abuse by his wife, and Major League Baseball reportedly has been investigating the allegations.
Blanca Vizquel told The Athletic that the 11-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop physically abused her multiple times over the past decade until she left him in August and filed for divorce.
An attorney for the former Cleveland Indians All-Star told the website Vizquel “flatly denies any allegations of domestic violence.”
In January 2016, Omar Vizquel was removed by police in handcuffs from their home in Sammamish, Washington, and placed into a patrol car. It was not Blanca’s only documented allegation of domestic violence lodged against her husband.
In August, following what she recounted as another heated altercation at their most recent home in Arizona, the 36-year-old Blanca fled and spent time in a women’s shelter in Texas.
“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 Vizquel told The Athletic.
In October, Omar Vizquel responded to his wife’s allegations in an interview with a television network in their native country of Venezuela.
“I never hit her. I never hit Blanca,” Vizquel told El Pitaza. “She made the decision to leave me. She made that decision on her own and not because of any domestic violence.”
Still, MLB has interviewed Blanca and members of her family about the allegations, according to the report, and investigators also are looking into a 2019 incident involving a male team employee when Vizquel was managing the Double-A Birmingham Barons in the Chicago White Sox organization. Vizquel was fired in 2019 after one season as the minor-league affiliate’s manager.
“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,” MLB said in a statement to The Athletic.
When reached last week by the website about his wife’s allegations, the 53-year-old Vizquel said: “I don’t have anything to say. This is a divorce and I know she’s really pissed off. 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.”
The report also quotes Blanca Vizquel’s sister, Nelly Metler, and an unnamed male neighbor in Washington about the 2016 incident involving the police. Omar Vizquel initially was booked for fourth-degree assault but he was not prosecuted after his wife’s written request that charges be dropped.
Blanca Vizquel told The Athletic that Omar Vizquel pressured her to sign the letter, “threatening her with financial ruin and to kick her out of the house if she disclosed what occurred in their marriage.”
“People are scared and I was, too,” Blanca Vizquel said. “I was scared for these moments for a long time. And I stayed because of that.
“I made a decision to leave the house (in August) and not come back. I didn’t want to feel that feeling where you didn’t know if you’re gonna be safe.”
Metler also recounted an incident in December 2011 at her home in Alabama in which she woke up to her sister screaming and seeing Omar on top of Blanca and choking her.
Vizquel’s first wife, Nicole, told The Athletic she never was not contacted by MLB investigators and that “Omar was never violent towards me…or towards [their two] children.”
Still, according to a letter obtained by The Athletic, Omar Vizquel was placed on a “treatment plan” and instructed by MLB to “cease and desist from any hostile or threatening contact” with Blanca stemming from his 2016 arrest. MLB’s Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy was implemented in 2015.
Vizquel is in his fourth year on baseball’s Hall of Fame ballot, increasing from 37.0 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in his first year of eligibility in 2018 to 52.6 of the 75 percent needed for induction last year.
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