ARLINGTON -- Catcher Yorvit Torrealba has been suspended for 66 games -- the rest of this Venezuelan Winter League season and all of the next -- after striking umpire Dario Rivero Jr. on Friday while playing for Leones de Caracas. Jose Grasso Vecchio, Venezuelan Winter League president, made the announcement on Monday. Torrealba also issued a statement of apology on Monday. "I wanted to express my sincere apologies to all parties for my actions during the Venezuelan Winter League game on Friday," Torrealba said. "I have extended an apology to the Rangers organization as well. I am embarrassed for my conduct, and personally relayed that feeling to the umpire after that night's game.
"On the field, I strive to be an example for children, especially those in my native Venezuela, and I regret my actions. I understand the reactions to the incident and will make every effort to set a positive example in the future." Rangers officials said that the club has reached out to Torrealba but is not expected to take further disciplinary action. The suspension does not affect Torrealba's status for the upcoming Major League season. Torrealba swung and struck Rivero in his mask after striking out. The incident was captured on video that quickly went viral. "There was a clear act of aggression that violates the statutes of the league," Vecchio said. "One that, like any such act, is unacceptable. The punishment is meant to serve as an example. The league acted after analyzing all the known details, that's why the suspension is for close to a year. "We couldn't make it for less, since for a while we have been mounting a campaign against violence in stadiums and during games." Torrealba is entering his second season with the Rangers and is once again expected to split duties with Mike Napoli.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.