Major League Baseball announced Thursday that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, who had been suspended for violating the league’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy, has been reinstated. An arbitrator reduced his suspension from 324 games to 194, effective immediately.
Bauer has not played since June 2021, when a San Diego woman claimed he had sexually assaulted her. He was placed on administrative leave by the league the following month. A Cy Young Award winner, Bauer denied the allegations and maintained that his encounters with the woman were fully consensual.
In April, the MLB announced that Bauer would be suspended for two full seasons (324 games) without pay following its investigation. At the time, the pitcher denied he violated the policy and appealed the decision. On Thursday, the league announced that arbitrator Martin F. Scheinman reduced Bauer’s unpaid suspension to 194 games, enabling his return to the field. Bauer will also received docked pay for the first 50 games of the 2023 season.
According to league rules, the Dodgers have 14 days from reinstatement to decide whether to put Bauer back on the team’s 40-man roster. This means the Dodgers have to make their decision by January 6.
“We have just been informed of the arbitrator’s ruling and will comment as soon as practical,” the Dodgers said in a statement posted to Twitter on Thursday.
Bauer, 31, expressed his excitement at being able to return to the game.
“Can’t wait to see y’all out at a stadium soon!” he wrote on Twitter Thursday.
His lawyers, Jon Fetterolf, Shawn Holley, and Rachel Luba, also emphasized Bauer’s excitement for his return.
“While we are pleased that Mr. Bauer has been reinstated immediately, we disagree that any discipline should have been imposed,” said the lawyers in a statement. “That said, Mr. Bauer looks forward to his return to the field, where his goal remains to help his team win a World Series.”
The woman has alleged that while she had consensual sex with Bauer on two occasions, he performed violent acts during their sexual encounters that she did not consent to. Bauer has maintained that the interactions were fully consensual.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to press criminal charges for the accusations in February.
After the first allegations became public, a second woman also claimed Bauer had assaulted her during sex, a claim that The Washington Post reported in August 2021. Bauer has also denied the second woman’s allegations.
In its statement, the MLB said that the neutral arbitrator “affirmed that Trevor Bauer violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.”
“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,” said the league in its statement.
“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.”