GRAPHIC WARNING: Some readers may find the content disturbing.
Major League Baseball threw Los Angeles Dodgers hurler Trevor Bauer a curveball on Friday and suspended him for two seasons in the wake of lurid domestic and sexual violence allegations.
MLB supremo Rob Manfred announced the suspension Friday — nearly 10 months after a San Diego woman claimed two sexual encounters with Bauer in April and May 2021 turned violent without her consent.
Bauer has denied the allegations, said they were consensual and, apparently, a Los Angeles judge agreed.
“In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy. I am appealing this action and expect to prevail. As we have throughout this process, my representatives and I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings,” Bauer said in a terse statement released to the Toronto Sun and other media outlets.
The former Cy Young Award winner will now have to sit out 324 games under MLB’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy.
He is the first player to challenge a suspension under MLB’s policy.
The 31-year-old right-hander has been on paid administrative leave since July 2, 2021
That came after the alleged victim — known only as Ms. Hill — filed for a restraining order against Bauer and released a photo of what appeared to be her injured face.
She claimed she hooked up with the star and Bauer choked her into unconsciousness, performed non-consensual anal sex, and repeatedly punched her head.
But the restraining order was lifted after the judge found that there was no evidence Bauer was likely to cause future harm or contact his accuser. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office also declined to pursue charges against Bauer citing insufficient evidence.
The pitcher’s legal team also released text messages purportedly sent by the woman in which she expresses her desire for rough sex. Bauer has alleged that the complainant was looking for a quick payday.
In the interim, he sued The Athletic, one of its former writers, and Deadspin for defamation. Earlier this month he also launched defamation proceedings against Ms. Hill.
Since then, another woman claimed she endured a similar incident with Bauer in 2017 when he starred for Cleveland. His team calls the second allegation “categorically false.”
MLB’s domestic violence and sexual assault do not require a guilty verdict or criminal charges.
Sam Dyson was suspended in March 2021 for a year. MLB has suspended 14 players in the six-year history of the zero-tolerance policy.
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But one place Bauer’s leave hasn’t hit is his pocketbook. He signed a three-year, $102-million deal with the Dodgers, including $28 million last season along with a $10-million signing bonus.
The Dodgers have not commented.