New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia has been suspended for the first 15 games of the season by Major League Baseball after his arrest last year on domestic violence charges.
Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges against Familia due to lack of evidence, and his wife, Bianca Rivas, has maintained he did not harm her.
An MLB investigation agreed that Familia did not assault her or threaten her with harm, but concluded that "Familia’s overall conduct that night was inappropriate, violated the (league's domestic violence) policy, and warrants discipline."
The 27-year-old pitcher emphasised his side of the case in a statement released just after the punishment was announced on Wednesday.
"With all that has been written and discussed regarding this matter, it is important that it be known that I never physically touched, harmed or threatened my wife that evening," his statement read in part. "I did, however, act in an unacceptable manner and am terribly disappointed in myself. I am alone to blame for the problems of that evening.
"My wife and I cooperated fully with Major League Baseball’s investigation, and I’ve taken meaningful steps to assure that nothing like this will ever happen again. I have learned from this experience, and have grown as a husband, a father, and a man."
MLB said Familia already has participated in 12 domestic violence counselling sessions lasting 90 minutes each and has "received a favourable evaluation from the counsellor regarding his willingness to take concrete steps to ensure that he is not involved in another incident of this type."
Familia led the majors with 51 saves last season and earned his first All-Star nod in his third full major league season. He will eligible to rejoin the Mets for their April 20 game against the Philadelphia Phillies.