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MLB suspends Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer for two years for violating abuse policy

Dodgers star Trevor Bauer hasn't pitched since June, when a California woman accused him of assaulting her during consensual sex. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)
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Major League Baseball suspended Trevor Bauer, the star Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher accused by multiple women of assault, for 324 games — or two full seasons — on Friday, the longest suspension in the seven-year history of MLB’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy.

Bauer immediately announced he was appealing the suspension, signaling that, in the legal saga in which Bauer has already sued one of his accusers and two media outlets that have covered the case, his next opponent will be MLB.

Just hours after MLB announced the suspension, The Washington Post reported that another woman claimed Bauer choked her unconscious and assaulted her without her consent — the third accuser to make similar allegations publicly.

MLB cited an “extensive investigation” in a statement Friday but did not detail its findings or the rationale behind the unprecedented suspension. MLB said that given the confidentiality terms of its policy it “will not issue any further statements at this point in time.”

“I am appealing this action and expect to prevail,” Bauer tweeted within minutes, adding: “As we have throughout this process, my representatives & I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.”

Bauer has not played since June, when a Southern California woman filed a temporary restraining order against him, claiming he choked her unconscious and then assaulted her during sex without her consent, leaving her hospitalized. MLB opened an investigation soon after, and Bauer has been on paid administrative leave since. The Post typically does not name victims of alleged domestic violence unless they ask to be identified.

Last summer, The Post reported that Bauer had been the subject of a temporary restraining order sought by an Ohio woman who made similar allegations in 2020 — the year Bauer, then playing for Cincinnati, won the Cy Young Award as the National League’s best pitcher. Bauer denied her claims.

And Friday, The Post reported that a second woman in Ohio, who said she had a years-long relationship with Bauer dating from his days as a minor leaguer, alleged Bauer repeatedly choked her unconscious, slapped and anally penetrated her without her consent. Bauer’s representatives called her allegations “false and defamatory.”

The suspension announced Friday is without pay and means that, if it is upheld, Bauer will not be eligible to play in MLB until late April 2024. Under the policy, Bauer can appeal to an independent arbitrator. The suspension is twice as long as the previous longest punishment under the policy, that of pitcher Sam Dyson last year.

Dodgers star Trevor Bauer was subject of previous protection order

Bauer’s case is the first in the history of MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy, adopted in 2015, in which the player has fought discipline rather than negotiate the length of punishment. In previous cases, such as that of Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna, players have negotiated retroactive punishment giving them credit for suspension time served — which will not happen with Bauer.

Bauer earned $38 million, a single-season record, from the Dodgers last year despite missing the season’s second half and the playoffs. He was still owed $64 million over the next two seasons by the Dodgers, which he will not be paid if the suspension is upheld.

The Dodgers said in a statement that the team “takes all allegations of this nature very seriously and does not condone or excuse any acts of domestic violence or sexual assault,” and that it has “cooperated fully with MLB’s investigation since it began.”

“We understand that Trevor has the right to appeal the Commissioner’s decision,” the statement continued. “Therefore, we will not comment further until the process is complete.”

In August, Bauer invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid taking the witness stand during a lengthy hearing to determine whether his Los Angeles accuser should be granted a restraining order against him. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied the restraining order, determining the woman did not make clear her parameters during consensual sex with the pitcher. And in February, following months of deliberation, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute Bauer, announcing that prosecutors were “unable to prove the relevant charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Bauer treated the DA’s decision as a vindication. But in levying a suspension, MLB does not have to adhere to the same standard of proof, instead having only to find — and defend in any grievance proceeding — that Bauer violated its joint domestic violence and sexual assault policy with the players union.

The policy defines domestic violence as “abusive behavior in any intimate relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner” and states that lack of consent constituting an act of sexual assault “is inferred when a person uses force ... or other coercion, or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated, unconscious or legally incapable of consent.”

In Los Angeles, the allegations against Bauer included that he punched his sex partner in her face and vagina and sodomized her without her consent. He denied those accusations in February in a video he filmed following the decision by the DA’s office.

Bauer sued that accuser and her attorney Monday, claiming the woman’s pursuit of a restraining order was part of a scheme to “lure Mr. Bauer into having a rougher sexual experience” and “lay the groundwork for a financial settlement,” which she has denied. Her attorney, Bryan Freedman, declined to comment on Bauer’s suspension.

Bauer also has sued two media outlets, Deadspin and the Athletic, that covered his case. Both outlets have denied his claims.