Omar Vizquel has been accused of domestic abuse by his wife, Blanca, who alleged multiple instances of physical violence from the former star shortstop in a report published Wednesday by The Athletic.
Blanca Vizquel, 36, told The Athletic that her husband physically abused her in 2011 -- before they were married in 2014 -- and in 2016. She also described a heated argument with her husband this past August, when she decided to leave him and begin divorce proceedings.
Vizquel strongly denied the allegations in a statement issued Wednesday night, saying, "I have never hit or been violent towards my wife, Blanca. Any accusation to the contrary is false."
He added: "I never expected this divorce proceeding to play out in public, but I will continue to defend myself and my name against these false accusations. Our divorce should be settled in a court of law, not in the court of public opinion."
Vizquel, when asked earlier about his wife's allegations, told The Athletic: "I don't have anything to say. This is a divorce and I know she's really pissed off. There is a lot of things [being said] out there about things supposedly happening behind closed doors, you know. I don't have anything to say about that, either. It's just a divorce."
Vizquel, 53, also is being investigated by Major League Baseball, which has interviewed Blanca and also is looking into a 2019 clubhouse incident when Omar was the manager of the Chicago White Sox's Double-A affiliate, the Birmingham Barons, according to The Athletic.
"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 said in a statement to The Athletic.
Blanca Vizquel's first public accusation of domestic abuse came on Oct. 7 in an Instagram live video. Omar denied hitting Blanca at the time, saying his wife chose to leave him and that the couple was in the process of a divorce.
Omar Vizquel was taken into police custody in 2016 after an incident at the couple's Seattle-area home in Sammamish, Washington, according to The Athletic. Blanca Vizquel told police that her husband pushed her during an argument, causing her to fall and suffer an injury to her shin and multiple broken fingernails.
Blanca Vizquel called a neighbor, who notified the King County Sheriff's Office. Omar Vizquel was booked for fourth-degree domestic assault and taken to jail, but Blanca Vizquel later asked the Sammamish prosecuting attorney to drop charges against her husband, according to The Athletic.
In a letter to the prosecutor, Bianca Vizquel denied the official police record of the alleged incident and said she wanted to work through her marital problems with her husband. She told The Athletic, however, that Omar Vizquel coerced her into signing the letter and threatened her with financial retribution.
In an interview with Venezuelan news outlet La Patilla, Omar Vizquel denied attempting to force Blanca to sign the letter.
The Athletic also described an incident in December 2011, when Omar Vizquel allegedly strangled his wife during an argument at the home of Blanca's sister in Alabama.
Blanca Vizquel's sister, Nelly Metler, wrote in a witness statement, "We saw him on top of her, his elbow on her throat, her arms pin (sic) down on bed, she was screaming, telling him to let me go," according to The Athletic.
Omar Vizquel called police and accused his wife of scratching him, which she denied, telling The Athletic that her husband "was stronger obviously, stronger than me, I tried to get him off."
Omar and Blanca Vizquel both signed affidavits acknowledging that "we lost control of ourselves which resulted in physical contact between us." Both individually said they did not want the incident to lead to criminal charges, according to The Athletic.
The couple ultimately filed a joint motion to dismiss any charges stemming from the incident, according to The Athletic, and the motion was granted.
Blanca Vizquel told The Athletic that the August 2020 incident was a heated argument but did not indicate that Omar physically abused her. She said she "made a decision to leave the house and not come back. I didn't want to feel that feeling where you didn't know if you're gonna be safe."
Omar Vizquel was a three-time All-Star and 11-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop during his 24-year career in the majors with the Mariners, Indians, Giants, Rangers, White Sox and Blue Jays from 1989 to 2012. He is currently on the ballot for the Hall of Fame.