NEW YORK — Mets reliever Jeurys Familia pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a charge of simple assault in Fort Lee (N.J.) Municipal Court, according to reports. Familia’s next hearing is scheduled for December.

Familia, 27, was arrested Oct. 31. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson offered the team’s first public comments earlier this week regarding Familia’s arrest, calling the club “extremely disappointed, and frankly shocked at the allegations.”

“It’s not just an unfortunate situation, but a sad one for him and his family,” Alderson said.

Two days after Alderson commented, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred indicated the league will let Familia’s criminal proceedings finish before considering levying any independent punishment. Through its Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy, MLB has the ability to suspend Familia even if charges are dropped or he is found not guilty in court.

“I think that it is usually difficult for us to complete our investigation before the criminal process has run its course,” Manfred said. “We’re gathering information. But I think that — particularly given that we’re in the offseason — we’re going to try to proceed at a pace that makes sure we know all the facts before we try to make a discipline decision. We have the luxury of not being on the field right now, and we’ll take advantage of that.”

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Mets News / Report: Familia pleads not guilty to assault charge