White Sox’ Mike Clevinger said he expects to be exonerated

“It’s really embarrassing,” Clevinger said of MLB’s investigation into allegations of domestic abuse. “It’s not who I am.”

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White Sox pitcher Mike Clevinger works out during the first day of spring training Wednesday.

White Sox pitcher Mike Clevinger works out during the first day of spring training Wednesday.

AP

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As MLB’s investigation into allegations of domestic violence against Mike Clevinger continued, the White Sox right-hander vehemently denied the accusations on the first day of spring training at Camelback Ranch.

Clevinger expects to be cleared by MLB and pitch this season for the White Sox, who signed him to a one-year, $12 million contract as a free agent this winter.

“It’s really embarrassing,” Clevinger, 32, said. “It’s not who I am. And now I need to sit here and answer questions like I am one of those people. I’m here to answer to the bell and excited to see when the facts come out.”

“I am,” Clevinger said when asked if he expects to be exonerated by MLB. “I’m confident.”

It was somewhat surprising that Clevinger stepped up to talk publicly after participating in a full workout. Earlier, he addressed teammates in the clubhouse, where he said he regretted causing a distraction on the first day of camp.

“I didn’t have to, but yeah,” he said. “It’s the elephant in the room. I wanted to address it. I’m not going to hide away from it. I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m not running away from this.”

The Sox must wait for MLB to conclude its investigation, which has been ongoing for months. Only the commissioner’s office can discipline players for violation of the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.

“At this point, the Sox’ options are the same as they have been throughout this process when Mike joined us, and that is to respect the process in the investigation and let it play out,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “That is the club’s only option.”

Manager Pedro Grifol said he expects Clevinger to pitch this season.

“We signed him to be a part of the rotation,” Grifol said. “He’s here in camp and working to be a part of it, a big part of it.”

It was first-year manager Grifol’s first day on the job as pitchers and catchers reported. It was Clevinger’s first official day, although he arrived at the training complex Friday, he said.

“I’m pretty disappointed we have to start off this way,” Clevinger said. “This is pretty devastating to me and my family and I know I feel terrible for my teammates having to answer questions from you, and for you to have to ask them a bunch of questions about this. I trust the process from MLB, I really do. I think there’s a reason I’m sitting in front of you today. I’m just asking everyone to wait before they rush to judgment. Wait until the actual facts are out there, wait until there’s actual evidence, and then make your decision on who you think I am.”

Olivia Finestead, the mother of Clevinger’s infant daughter, will meet again with the league this week. She has reported “incidents of physical, verbal and emotional abuse” and on social media has accused Clevinger of emotional abuse, bruising her with an iPad, throwing chewing tobacco at her daughter and being a drug user.

“The White Sox can allow him at spring training, that doesn’t mean Mike is off the hook with the MLB or that he didn’t do what I’ve said he has,” she wrote on an Instagram post Wednesday.

Under counsel from his lawyer and MLB, Clevinger pushed back against questions about the allegations and his association with former teammate Trevor Bauer.

‘‘This is pretty devastating to me and my family,” he said. “And I know I feel terrible for all my teammates having to answer questions.

“I would never harm a woman. I love my kids more than anything.”

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