Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, told the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday that MLB is discussing a new domestic violence policy with the Players Association and hopes to have it in place for the 2015 season.
The former manager explained that while the Commissioner's Office currently has the right to discipline players under the best-interest-of-baseball guidelines, any such actions are subject to the approval of a neutral arbitrator. That "can be difficult in the absence of a conviction or plea or without cooperating witnesses or tangible evidence," Torre said.
As a result, MLB has proposed a policy that would "make it easier for the Commissioner's Office to impose an appropriate level of discipline on players who commit acts of domestic violence or sexual assault and have that discipline be upheld in arbitration," Torre said.
Torre's remarks were first reported by ESPN.
In addition, Torre noted that:
MLB has retained San Francisco-based Futures Without Violence to "develop and implement training and education programs for all of our players."
MLB has met with more than a dozen national and local organizations that focus on domestic violence and violence against women since September, and the league is in the process of selecting groups that will be part of a steering committee to develop educational and training material for teams and players.
Dr. Linda Chamberlain, who founded the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project, will be sent to speak to team medical officials at next week's Winter Meetings in San Diego.
MLB is in the process of formulating educational programs for all 30 clubs to share with players and their spouses and families, while also "developing protocols that our clubs must follow in response to domestic violence or sexual assault incidents that will include appropriate measures to ensure the safety of affected individuals, providing confidential counseling and treatment for victims and providing counseling and intervention for perpetrators."
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.