Major League Baseball is investigating New York Mets outfielder Khalil Lee following allegations of assault from an ex-girlfriend last year, reports SNY. Lee is named in a warrant issued by Syracuse police for a "criminal obstruction of breath" charge, which is often used in domestic assault cases. The woman filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday.
The alleged assault took place on May 7, 2022, while Lee was playing for the Syracuse Mets, New York's Triple-A affiliate. A Syracuse.com report includes graphic details of the alleged assault, which left "multiple bruises and marks on her body." The woman went to police the next day and the warrant was signed Aug. 10. The lawsuit says MLB was notified of the charge.
The Mets released the following statement Wednesday (via SNY):
"The Mets immediately notified MLB upon becoming aware of the allegations. We will fully comply with MLB's policy and cannot comment until the completion of the league's investigative process."
The league's collectively bargained domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy empowers Commissioner Rob Manfred to discipline players regardless of criminal charges. A total of 17 players have been suspended under the policy since it came into effect in 2015. Most notably, Trevor Bauer was banned 324 games in 2022, though it was later reduced to 194 games.
MLB may place Lee on administrative leave if the investigation is ongoing when spring training opens later this month. The league often waits until the legal process plays out before handing down any official discipline when criminal charges have been filed.
Lee, 24, has played 13 games with the Mets the last two years while spending most of his time in Triple-A. He was acquired from the Kansas City Royals as part of the three-team Andrew Benintendi trade with the Boston Red Sox.
The Mets designated Lee for assignment on Feb. 6 and have seven days to trade, release, or waive him. His grip on a roster spot was tenuous even prior to the assault allegations and MLB's investigation.