NAGOYA – The Chunichi Dragons announced a three-month suspension for Dominican pitcher Maximo Nelson on Tuesday, four days after he was arrested at Naha airport for carrying a bullet in his bag.
The Dragons stopped short of firing the 27-year-old reliever as they concluded he had the bullet without any malicious intent and no bullets or guns were found in a raid on his house in Nagoya.
Nelson, who was 1-3 with one save and a 3.51 ERA in 32 appearances over the past two seasons, will not be able to join the team until late May.
On Friday, Nelson remained in police custody overnight on suspicion of violating firearms laws after the bullet was found when his baggage was checked for a flight bound for Nagoya. He was released on Saturday.
“I’m sorry for fans, the club and teammates,” Nelson said. “. . . I’d like to repay my debt by working hard on baseball.”
The Dragons gave club representative Norihito Nishiwaki a stark warning for his supervisory responsibility.
Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato said, “I know police and prosecutors are still investigating the matter. We’d like to make some kind of decision after that. It was appropriate that Chunichi quickly took action, though.”