MLB investigating Omar Vizquel after wife accuses him of domestic abuse

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Former shortstop and Baseball Hall of Fame candidate Omar Vizquel is being investigated by MLB after his estranged wife, Blanca Vizquel, accused him of domestic abuse that dates back to his time as a minor league manager in the Chicago White Sox system.

Blanca, who has been married to Vizquel for six years, told Katie Strang and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that she started divorce proceedings in August after she fled their shared home and drove 10 hours to a women’s shelter following a “volatile interaction.” But Blanca, who has gone public about her abuse on Instagram and in a televised interview on Telemundo, said that she had been experiencing both physical and psychological abuse from Vizquel for the majority of their decade-long relationship.

Alleged abuse goes back years

Blanca has known Vizquel since 2008 (the two married in 2014), and told The Athletic that he began abusing her not long after they became seriously involved in 2010. Blanca’s sister, Nelly Metler, told The Athletic that she routinely saw Vizquel belittling, denigrating, and mocking Blanca during the nine months she lived with them, calling his behavior toward her “traumatizing.”

Melter and several members of her family witnessed Vizquel strangling Blanca in December 2011, when the couple were visiting for Christmas. Blanca’s screaming had woken the house in the middle of the night, and she claims the incident stemmed from an argument about his infidelity. While he admitted to hitting her and pulling her hair, both signed affidavits acknowledging that they lost control during an argument and charges were never brought.

Vizquel was arrested on fourth-degree assault charges in 2016 when he allegedly pushed her so hard that she fell over backward and cut her leg. Blanca’s injuries were photographed, but the charges against Vizquel were dropped after she sent a letter to the prosecutor saying that she loved her husband and wanted to attend counseling. Blanca told The Athletic that Vizquel threatened to kick her out of the house and “ruin her financially” unless she signed the letter.

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 16: First base coach Omar Vizquel #13 of the Detroit Tigers walks onto the field prior to the game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
First base coach Omar Vizquel of the Detroit Tigers walks onto the field prior to a game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Sept. 16, 2016, in Cleveland. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

MLB investigating

Vizquel, who retired in 2012 after a 24-year career, does not currently work in MLB, but he has previously spent time as a minor league manager for the White Sox. In 2017 he managed the Winston-Salem Dash, and in 2019 he managed the Birmingham Barons. Because some of the alleged abuse took place while he was working in baseball, MLB is investigating. According to The Athletic, the league has spoken to Blanca and several members of her family.

“While Omar Vizquel has not been employed by a Major League organization for some time, we are aware of the allegations and will continue to look into them,” MLB told The Athletic in a statement.

The Athletic also reported that MLB has “probed” a 2019 incident between Vizquel and a male employee of the Barons. No details of the incident are known, but it led to Vizquel being fired one month before his contract was up. He spent the 2020 season managing a Mexican League team.

Vizquel denies allegations

When he was recently asked about MLB’s investigation, Vizquel, 53, told The Athletic that he was not aware of any investigation. His attorney has said that Vizquel “flatly denies” any allegations of domestic abuse.

According to The Athletic, one of Vizquel’s representatives sent it an 11-page document to refute the allegations.

Additionally, a representative of Vizquel reached out to The Athletic to provide “a brief presentation with some of the background on the allegations against Mr. Vizquel.” That 11-page PDF document is titled “The facts on the smear campaign against Omar Vizquel.” It includes bullet points that note, among other things, that “Vizquel was accused of fourth-degree assault, the least serious level.” The “conclusions” section of the presentation highlights that Vizquel is a finalist for the Hall of Fame.

Blanca has already experienced significant vitriol online from Vizquel’s fans, something she knew would happen.

“I was silent for a long time because I knew this was coming,” Blanca told The Athletic.

“I got so much hate from his fans [who thought] I was destroying him and his career, and I couldn’t believe these people were thinking about someone’s career before the life of a person. I was talking about something that happened to me. What he did was his choice and it wasn’t mine. If that’s going to destroy him, I’m sorry; that’s not my intention.

“I think it’s necessary for other people to know this can happen and people don’t say anything. It’s so freaking sad this happens so much and people do nothing about it.”

Where she is currently staying, she checks the locks on all the doors before she climbs into bed, and then braces for another restless night, fear and anxiety coming at her in waves.

“All I want is peace, to be able to sleep a good night without being afraid.”

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