There is a strong possibility that Roberto Osuna, the embattled Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, could be back playing baseball before his criminal assault case is dealt with by the courts.
In a brief hearing at Toronto’s Old City Hall on Monday afternoon, Osuna had his case put over until Aug. 1 at the request of his lawyer.
The Blue Jays closer was not at the hearing, but his lawyer, Domenic Basile, told the court that he needs more time to meet with Crown lawyers to try to resolve the matter.
“The meetings are going well, there’s a lot of information that’s being discussed and exchanged,” Basile told reporters afterward outside the courtroom. “It’s a very productive, reasonable approach that I suggest the Crown is taking and that I’m taking thus far. Nothing’s carved in stone.
“I’m working toward a positive resolution for my client and I’m going to know a lot more Aug. 1, but there’s a lot going on right now.”
Osuna is currently serving a 75-game unpaid suspension that Major League Baseball imposed on the 23-year-old after it conducted its own investigation into the criminal allegation.
That suspension is due to end Aug. 4, and Osuna will be able to return to play for the Blue Jays the next day. The team has said it will welcome back the young pitcher with open arms.
Basile said that, even with the three-week extension he was granted on Monday, it is very likely the criminal matter will still be hanging over Osuna’s head when he returns.
“That’s a possibility,” Basile said. “A lot of you know, dealing with the criminal court system for a long time, things don’t move as fast as we all want things to move sometimes.
“I’m hoping to try and get things resolved by Aug. 1 – it’s doubtful. It may take a little bit longer, it may take a lot longer. But, at the end of the day, I’m going to do everything I can to help Roberto and to assist him in this process.”
Osuna is eligible to begin a baseball rehabilitation assignment beginning on Saturday, probably in the Florida area.
He has not played in a game since the criminal charge was laid, stemming from an altercation he had with a woman in the early hours of May 8. He was arrested at a downtown Toronto apartment building and charged with assault.
The league immediately placed him on administrative leave, as per the guidelines under the domestic-violence, sexual-assault and child-abuse policy it established with the players’ association in 2015.
After its own investigation into the matter, the league eventually levied the suspension against Osuna, retroactive to May 8. He will have to forfeit almost half of the US$5.3-million salary he was slated to earn this season.
Basile said he has seen published reports that said the league interviewed the complainant as part of its investigation.
“That’s news to me,” he said. “I don’t understand there to have been an interview with the complainant.”
Regardless, he stressed that just because the league has ruled on the matter and Osuna decided to accept the punishment without an appeal, as was his right, it has no bearing on the criminal matter.
“As you all know, his intention remains the same,” Basile said. “He’s pleading not guilty to the charge and is looking forward to getting back and pitching with the Blue Jays and playing the sport he loves.”
However, Basile said he is hopeful the matter never gets to a trial and is pushing for some sort of peace bond with the Crown that would involve the charge getting withdrawn.
“That’s something again that is often offered on a case like this,” Basile said. “There are circumstances that need to be fulfilled for that to happen. And again, without getting into it, that’s something I’m working toward.
“And if it is something that he can avail himself of, then the charge is not proceeded with by the Crown – it’s withdrawn. He signs the peace bond, and that’s the end of the matter.”