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Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer placed on administrative leave by MLB amid allegations of sexual assault

Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer was placed on administrative leave Friday. (Jae C. Hong/AP)
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Four days after a woman was granted a temporary restraining order against him and two days before he was scheduled to start against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Major League Baseball placed Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer on administrative leave Friday, effective immediately, while MLB and the Pasadena (Calif.) Police Department conduct investigations of allegations of sexual violence against him.

The leave does not constitute a disciplinary action, and Bauer will be paid for its duration.

“MLB’s investigation into the allegations made against Trevor Bauer is ongoing. While no determination in the case has been made, we have made the decision to place Mr. Bauer on seven-day administrative leave effective immediately,” MLB said in a statement Friday. “MLB continues to collect information in our ongoing investigation concurrent with the Pasadena Police Department’s active criminal investigation. We will comment further at the appropriate time.”

The MLB/MLB Players Association joint policy on domestic violence allows the commissioner to place a player on administrative leave for up to seven days while MLB investigates allegations of domestic violence. To extend that leave, MLB needs approval from the players’ union.

The decision to place Bauer on leave now, made in the face of widespread outrage after the Dodgers said Thursday they planned to let him start under the cloud of graphic sexual assault allegations that became public this week, creates somewhat complicated timing for MLB. Bauer’s seven days of leave would be up next weekend. There is no guarantee that Pasadena police will have finished their investigation within a week, let alone that MLB — which just learned of the allegations this week — will finish its own inquiries by then, either.

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Bauer, who has denied the allegations through his agents, had 24 hours to appeal to an arbitrator, meaning MLB had to have enough evidence to support placing him on leave. But Bauer’s representatives said in a statement Friday that he will not appeal.

“We reaffirm our original statement and refute [the woman’s] allegations in the strongest possible terms. Mr. Bauer will not appeal MLB’s decision to place him on administrative leave at this time in an effort to minimize any distraction to the Dodgers organization and to his teammates,” said Bauer’s agents, Jon Fetterolf and Rachel Luba.

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts said Friday that his understanding of the administrative leave policy is that Bauer is not allowed to “be with the team in any capacity.” Bauer, the 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner who became the highest-paid player for a single season in baseball history when he signed a three-year, $102 million contract with the Dodgers in February, had traveled with the team to Washington and was scheduled to start Sunday.

“I think that this is where we were at yesterday where I was in a position to not say anything because Major League Baseball was dealing with it. And they did,” Roberts said. “I still and the Dodgers still take the stand of we’re going to support whatever decision MLB makes.”

Roberts said he isn’t worried about how the incident will affect the Dodgers’ clubhouse, which has prided itself on being close-knit and relentlessly businesslike in recent years.

“Guys handle it differently. But I think as far as a team, it’s not anything that affects how we prepare and our goal and our job to do our best to win a baseball game for the Dodgers,” Roberts said. “I don’t think it’s much more than that. Certainly it’s on guys’ minds, but I don’t think it affects performance.”

As things stand, Bauer’s leave would be up next weekend. The all-star break begins July 12, meaning that while Bauer could be eligible to pitch then, MLB could buy itself an extra few days of investigatory time during the all-star break before needing to make a decision on what comes next.

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Bauer has not spoken publicly since the allegations, though Fetterolf has said he plans to refute the claims against him and has argued that Bauer’s accuser sought rough sex in a series of messages that occurred between the incidents. In a declaration submitted as part of her request for a protective order against Bauer, granted Monday, his accuser said she consented to sex but not to sexual assault.

In a meeting with Los Angeles reporters before Friday’s game, Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten reportedly said he believes the situation is being handled “professionally by the commissioner’s office” and that he trusts “that process to get us where it needs to go.”

“I know what has been in the public domain. Apparently there’s plenty more information that I have not been told, that I am not privy to, that I do not know anything about,” Kasten said, according to the Orange County Register. “So I’m going to wait till all of the fact-gathering is complete and the decision was made.”