Major League Baseball is investigating allegations by Derek Norris' former fiancée that the Tampa Bay Rays catcher "physically and mentally abused'' her during their relationship, league spokesman Pat Courtney told ESPN on Tuesday night.
Norris, 28, who has played six seasons in the majors with three teams, denied the allegations in a statement sent to the Tampa Bay Times by his agent, saying they "could not be further from the truth."
"First, I want to be absolutely clear that abuse of any form, is completely unacceptable," Norris' statement said. "Allegations regarding this issue are a very serious matter and should not be taken lightly under any circumstances. That being said, in this circumstance, the comments made by my ex-fiancée could not be further from the truth. I have NEVER been physically or emotionally abusive towards her, or anyone else in my life.
"I plan to go above and beyond to assist MLB with their investigation into this matter."
Kristen Eck made the charges in an Instagram post in which she described being abused by "the man I thought I was going to marry'' before leaving him a year ago with no access to a car and $300 to her name. She did not refer to Norris by name in the post, but a 2015 interview she conducted with MLB Central identified her as Norris' fiancée.
Eck on Wednesday posted to her blog a lengthy entry in which she says she was "deeply in love with Derek" and said she was "waiting to have my formal meeting with the commissioner's office of Major League Baseball ..."
She describes, in detail, an incident on Oct. 20, 2015, in which she says Norris put her in a choke hold, pulled her hair and grabbed her arms and later cornered her in a bedroom after she alleges she caught him talking to another woman on his phone.
Norris has played with the Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres and the Rays. He signed as a free agent with Tampa Bay in late March after being released by the Washington Nationals earlier in spring training.
The Rays also issued a statement saying they plan to "fully cooperate" with MLB on the matter.
"The Rays wholly support MLB's Domestic Violence policy," the team's statement said. "We take these allegations very seriously and will fully cooperate with the Commissioner's Office on this matter.''