UPDATE, 3:52: Kristen Eck, ex-fiance of Rays C Derek Norris, has now provided details in a blog post of an October 2015 incident of physical abuse, claiming Norris put her in a "choke-hold" and also grabbed her hair and arms. She later told the Times she did not then and does not plan to pursue criminal charges, but is in the process of scheduling a meeting with MLB investigators.
Eck told the Times she left Norris in June 2016, roughly eight months after the incident. In today's post, she said she still has feelings for Norris: "I still feel love in my heart for him. I wish I didn't, but I do.''
Eck alleges the physical abuse took place in an Oct. 20, 2015 incident at their Kansas home, claiming that Norris had been drinking and after she confronted him about talking with another woman he put her in a "choke hold" and grabbed her hair and arms.
Here are the details as posted on her blog on cravingthelight.com:
"I approached our kitchen island with the phone in my hand and Derek approached me from behind and put me in a choke hold. At this time, I thought he wanted the phone. I threw the phone onto the kitchen island and tried to get away. Derek then grabbed me by the back of my hair to pull me back to him. He eventually let go and as I turned around he grabbed me by my upper arms so I couldn't leave as he tried to drunkenly explain that he wasn't talking to another female.
After this I tried to go to our bedroom to get my phone to call my mom so she could come help me. He stood in front of me cornering me so I could not get to my phone. He kept trying to talk to me and deny what he was doing. I eventually could grab my phone and get into our guest room and lock the door. I grabbed my suitcase and called my mom so she could come get me.''
Eck also wrote that she came forward with her original allegations to help other women in similar situations:
"When I wrote my post on Sunday evening, I felt empowered. I was so proud of getting out of a relationship that was not right for me. I was proud that I left with nothing and could build my life over. I was proud I could finally find the courage to say that I was hurt, damaged, scarred and scared but still found a way to create a life for myself. All I wanted to was to share that. I want more people to know, they can change their circumstances at any time. I still find myself hesitant to share what happened, because, "it wasn't that bad". I didn't bleed, I didn't break bones, I was not hit, kicked or thrown to the ground. I question, if my experience is powerful enough to help women. Is going through this worth the outcome? My intention is not make the man I loved, and still have love in my heart for, look like a monster, because he isn't. Life chewed him up and spit him out just as it did to me. I am sure if his work, family, finance and stress situations were different, this would have been different. But they weren't, and I had words hurt me and his touch hurt me. I will forever have that shape who I am. Already, women have reached out to me living in similar circumstances, many MUCH MUCH worse than I could imagine. With those interactions, I know, that putting myself out there to share will help others to find a way to leave, start over and create something beautiful.''
Norris is in the Rays lineup tonight; a team spokesman said he would have no further comment on the situation beyond his statement earlier to the Times.
UPDATE, 2:08: The Rays plan to keep Norris on the active roster.
UPDATE, 1:14: In a series of posts last night on her Twiitter account, Eck seemed to imply the abuse was more mental than physical:
"As the media gets involved and people start talking let's not focus on a single area or person ...
Let's not focus on a moment where no blood was shed and no bones were broken. Instead. Can we focus on the number of women who are living ... each day in a situation they are scared to leave. Let's look at a larger, scarier problem.''
DEVELOPING: Major League Baseball is investigating allegations that Rays C Derek Norris "physically and emotionally abused" his former fiancee.
Norris, in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times sent via his agent, said the allegations "could not be further from the truth:"
"First, I want to be absolutely clear that abuse of any form, is completely unacceptable. 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-fiancee 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.''
The allegations were made by Eck in an Instagram post claiming abuse by "the man I thought I was going to marry." She did not name Norris but had previously been identified as Norris' fiancee.
In a statement, the Rays said they take the allegations "very seriously.''
In the post, after saying she left Norris, Eck wrote, in part:
"I had beautiful moments with a man and I fell in love with a sense of humor and authentic soul that I wanted to spend my life with. I also was physically and emotionally abused by this beautiful man. He gave me a lifestyle most people only dreamed of, but it came at a price. I am forever thankful for the joy, love and laughter he shared with me. I am also forever greatful for the darkness I experienced. Because of that, today is more full of light than I would have ever expected.''
The team said in a statement: "The Rays wholly support MLB's Domestic Violence policy. We take these allegations very seriously and will fully cooperate with the Commissioner's Office on this matter.''
Norris, 28, signed with the Rays this spring after being released by the Nationals. He played previously with the Padres and A's.
MLB has in recent years increased awareness and disciplinary actions for domestic violence issues.
News of the investigation was first reported by ESPN.