MIAMI -- Major League Baseball is investigating racist Instagram messages sent to Chicago Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards Jr., a league spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.
The team also reacted to the messages, which came after Edwards struggled in his first few appearances of the season before he was demoted to Triple-A Iowa.
"We were shocked by the racist, profanity-laced social media message sent to Carl Edwards Jr. earlier this month," team president Theo Epstein said in a statement. "We vehemently condemn the content of the message and are supporting Major League Baseball's investigation to identify the person responsible.
"In a sport that celebrates diversity and unites people from all backgrounds, we are appalled anyone claiming to be a fan would send divisive and bigoted insults to a player. Whether spoken, posted or published, this type of reprehensible language and views cannot be tolerated in our game or society."
Edwards, 27, was demoted after compiling a 32.40 ERA in four appearances this season. He declined to comment through a spokeswoman for the Iowa Cubs.
"While he has mentioned being upset at social media attacks in the past, the recent incidents are completely beyond normal fan frustration," Edwards' agent, Lee Long, said. "No player should be expected to bear such personal attacks especially based on the color of their skin. CJ has made a point to mention how appreciative he is of the Cubs fans for their support. Furthermore, we are very appreciative of the efforts of the Cubs, MLB and the union in addressing this matter."
Edwards is just the latest to receive vile rhetoric. African-American athletes have been subjected to it for years, in Chicago and elsewhere. Former Cubs manager Dusty Baker and outfielder Jacque Jones had to deal with similar attacks even before the social media age.
"It doesn't surprise me, but then on top of that you have to really understand that whomever this came from, I really believe it's a vocal minority,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said before their game in Miami on Tuesday. "I don't believe it's anything to get too worked up about. It would be wonderful to be able to find out exactly who it was and then confront those people head-on. But I think it's a just product of social media, people looking for acceptance, likes.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.