HOUSTON – Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow described Roberto Osuna as “one of the elite relievers in our game,” and “we are excited” to welcome him “to our team.”
But online, many Astros fans said they felt differently.
“We get a great closer but now have a stain on the team,” Jonathan Basden wrote on Facebook. “Not sure how I feel about this.”
“I love my team, but refuse to root for this guy,” wrote another fan on Twitter.
In May, Osuna accepted a 75-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy. In court, he pleaded not guilty. The case is ongoing, and details are not public.
Osuna's next court date is Wednesday in Toronto. His suspension will be fulfilled by Sunday, when he is expected to meet and address the team.
“We don’t take a decision like this lightly,” Luhnow said in a conference call with reporters. “We understand there’s going to be a lot of people that don’t agree with this decision. And we understand that and appreciate that.”
At the Houston Area Women’s Center, where the goal is “ending domestic and sexual violence for ALL,” interim president Sonia Corrales said the discussion itself is encouraging.
“The conversation about domestic violence is important to our community, and that’s important to us,” Corrales said. “That we’re talking about domestic violence, and there’s people who say we don’t tolerate domestic violence.”
Corrales said it is important that domestic violence policies are put in place and strictly enforced, especially in large professional organizations like Major League Baseball.
“Quite frankly,” Luhnow said on the conference call, “I believe you can have a zero-tolerance policy and also have an opportunity to give people second chances when they have made mistakes in the past in other organizations.”
In a statement earlier in the day, Luhnow said the Astros' front office’s “due diligence” was “unprecedented” and that Osuna was “remorseful” and “proactive” in addressing past issues.
“[He] has some great examples of character in our existing clubhouse that we believe will help him as he and his family establish a fresh start and as he continues with the Houston Astros,” Luhnow said. “We look forward to Osuna’s contributions as we head into the back half of the season.”