Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer might challenge leave extension

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer is reviewing if the latest extension of his paid administrative league is binding and weighing whether to show up for work at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Bauer last appeared in a Dodgers uniform on June 28, before the allegations by a Southern California woman that he sexually assaulted her went public. He has been on paid administrative leave since.

Multiple reports on Wednesday indicated that the leave, which had been set to expire on Saturday, was extended another week.

But the Times reported Friday that Bauer could challenge whether this most recent extension is a binding agreement. If Bauer does that, the hand of Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred could be forced.

While prosecutors in Los Angeles County investigated the woman’s allegations and declined to prosecute Bauer, the commissioner could suspend him under MLB’s policy on sexual assault and domestic violence. MLB has said it also was conducting an investigation into Bauer but has yet to take disciplinary action.

Bauer, 31, has continued to be paid what is owed to him under the three-year, $102 million contract he signed before the 2021 season.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told the Times he had “no idea” if Bauer will show up at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. One way to prevent that from happening would be for Manfred to suspend him.

Manfred also could let the Dodgers issue discipline.

An appearance at Dodger Stadium on Sunday would be symbolic, of course. He isn’t on the team’s 40-man roster and would have to be reinstated and work his arm back into pitching shape before he could take the mound again.

The Dodgers have given no indication of what Bauer’s status will be once his leave is lifted and any possible suspension served. If they release him, they will owe him the balance of his contract or face a likely grievance if they contend he shouldn’t be paid for violating his contract.

Bauer made just 17 starts last season and pitched 107⅔ innings. The former Cy Young Award winner was 8-5 with a 2.59 ERA.

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