Can MLB conduct a timely domestic violence investigation during the season?

On Thanksgiving Eve, Yasiel Puig got into a bar fight. His sister was there, and a report that he might have shoved her triggered an investigation under Major League Baseball's new domestic violence policy.

The league has yet to announce whether the Dodgers outfielder will be disciplined, although Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week the investigation was "essentially complete."

But what happens when a domestic violence allegation surfaces during the season? The Puig investigation has taken more than 100 days.

Baseball's domestic violence policy authorizes the commissioner to put a player on paid leave during the season for "up to seven days while the allegations are investigated before making a disciplinary decision."

That could be an ambitious timeline, given the length of baseball's winter investigations into Puig and New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman, and could be complicated by the pressure of determining the status of a key player during a pennant race.

"I think it's going to be a challenge, depending on the case," said Dan Halem, baseball's chief legal officer. "We understand most investigations are not going to be completed in seven days, particularly if law enforcement is involved."

The seven-day window, Halem said, "at least gives us enough time to understand the nature of the allegations, get some insight into whether the player will be prosecuted, and make an assessment."

If an investigation continues beyond seven days, Halem said, Manfred could put a player on paid suspension, or allow him to play pending the conclusion of the investigation.

Tony Clark, executive director of the players' union, said he hoped decisions could be made expeditiously and fairly regarding allegations that might arise during the season.

"Each situation has its own challenges," Clark said. "You hope you don't find yourself in a world where the criteria and the process that is in place is going to be stressed as a result of that particular case."

Twitter: @BillShaikin

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