Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer reinstated immediately after suspension is reduced

Trevor Bauer’s two-year suspension from Major League Baseball was reduced from 324 games to 194 games on Thursday, meaning the Dodgers will have to decide whether to pay him or release him.

The original suspension, the longest ever issued for violation of baseball’s policy on sexual assault and domestic violence, was shortened by an arbitration panel that had considered Bauer’s appeal since May.

“After an exhaustive review of the available evidence the neutral arbitrator upheld an unpaid suspension of 194 games, Major League Baseball said in a statement. “As part of the decision, the arbitrator reinstated Mr. Bauer effectively immediately, with a loss of pay covering the 144 games he was suspended during the 2022 season. In addition, the arbitrator docked Bauer’s salary for the first 50 games of the 2023 season (ie, the period covering March 30, 2023 to May 23, 2023). While we believe a longer suspension was warranted, MLB will abide by the neutral arbitrator’s decision, which upholds baseball’s longest-ever active player suspension for sexual assault or domestic violence.

“We understand this process was difficult for the witnesses involved and we thank them for their participation. Due to the collectively bargained confidentiality provisions of the joint program, we are unable to provide further details at this time.”

He last pitched for the Dodgers on June 28, 2021, the day before a San Diego woman asked for a restraining order against him, alleging he had sexually assaulted her. The league put Bauer on investigative leave that week and suspended him last April, and in the interim two other women told the Washington Post of similar experiences with Bauer. He denied doing wrong with all three women.

On Feb. 11, 2021, the Dodgers signed Bauer, a former UCLA star and at the time the defending National League Cy Young Award winner, to a three-year, $102-million contract through the 2023 season. He is not eligible to pitch in the major leagues until .

Of the 16 players suspended since the sexual assault and domestic violence policy took effect in 2015, he became the only one to appeal.

Neither Bauer nor the league has said what evidence the league presented in determining the suspension. When MLB commissioner Rob Manfred imposed the suspension, Bauer said: “In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy.”

By the time MLB suspended Bauer, a judge had denied the restraining order, and the Los Angeles County district attorney had declined to file criminal charges, saying the charges could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The district attorney’s office said it had investigated Bauer on charges of “assault by means likely to cause great bodily harm, sodomy of a sleeping person and domestic violence.”

Under a policy negotiated between the league and its players’ union, Manfred is authorized to suspend a player even if he has not been charged with a crime.

Bauer has south six parties for defamation, including the San Diego woman. She sued him back, and Bauer asked that her case be thrown out because the denial of the restraining order necessarily meant a court already had ruled no assault had occurred.

US District Court Judge James Selna denied Bauer’s request in November, ruling that the restraining order hearing determined whether the woman was at risk from future harm from Bauer but “did not necessarily decide that Bauer did not batter or sexually assault [her].”

Bauer and his representatives have long pointed to the judge in the restraining order hearing saying that the woman had been “materially misleading” in her request for the order. Selna noted the “materially misleading” comment referred not to her accounts of the two sexual encounters but to the way she “overstated the extent to which Bauer contacted [her] following” the second encounter.

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