Trevor Bauer, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who had been suspended for 324 games without pay after an investigation into sexual assault allegations, was reinstated by Major League Baseball on Thursday after an arbitrator reduced the penalty.
Bauer, who missed 144 games in 2022 as a result of the suspension, has not played since June 2021, which includes a lengthy administrative leave at the start of the investigation. He will have his pay docked for the first 50 games of the 2023 season, but he will be allowed to play immediately through a decision rendered by Martin F. Scheinman, a neutral arbitrator who was selected by M.L.B. and the players’ union.
In a statement, M.L.B. cited the fact that Scheinman affirmed that Bauer had violated the league’s domestic violence policy, which the league had ruled in its initial suspension.
“While we believe a longer suspension was warranted, M.L.B. will abide by the neutral arbitrator’s decision, which upholds baseball’s longest-ever active player suspension for sexual assault or domestic violence,” the league’s statement said.
The Dodgers have two weeks to decide if they will keep Bauer or release him.
“We have just been informed of the arbitrator’s ruling and will comment as soon as practical,” the team said in a statement.
Bauer has yet to publicly comment on the decision.
The initial suspension had come after a long investigation by the league into allegations that Bauer had sexually assaulted a woman. Bauer, who joined the Dodgers in 2021 as a free agent, was placed on administrative leave, with pay, on July 2 of that season.
Bauer, 31, has been vocal in his own defense throughout the process and has maintained his innocence against all allegations.
In court filings, a woman said that she initiated contact with Bauer and began a consensual relationship in April 2021, with some agreed-upon rough sex, but that it led to sexual acts that were not consensual. She has also said she was choked with her hair until she lost consciousness.
Bauer’s lawyer had said in a previous statement that his client had messages showing that the woman had asked to be choked and slapped during the encounters.
Two other women made similar accusations in reports by The Washington Post, both of which Bauer denied as well.
Whether or not Bauer will return to the Dodgers will be decided at some point in the next two weeks. He has one more year on a three-year, $102 million contract that he signed with Los Angeles before the 2021 season. Bauer joined the Dodgers after winning the National League’s Cy Young Award with Cincinnati in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.