LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer has been reinstated and had his two-season suspension over sexual assault allegations slashed after a decision from an independent arbitrator.
In April, Major League Baseball suspended Bauer without pay for 324 games following the allegations for which he was never criminally charged.
The suspension came after the league ruled Bauer violated MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
Bauer had appealed the suspension and denied any breach of the policy.
“After an exhaustive review of the available evidence the neutral arbitrator upheld an unpaid suspension of 194 games,” MLB said in a statement on Thursday.
“As part of the decision, the arbitrator reinstated Mr. Bauer effective immediately, with a loss of pay covering the 144 games he was suspended during the 2022 season,” the statement added.
Bauer’s salary has also been docked for the first 50 games of next season.
“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,” the league said.
All 15 of those previously suspended under MLB’s domestic violence policy accepted or negotiated suspensions ranging from 15 to 162 games.
Bauer was originally placed on paid administrative leave on 2 July 2021, days after his California accuser filed for a temporary restraining order against him.
She alleged he choked her to unconsciousness and then punched her repeatedly in the head.
Bauer denied any wrongdoing, with his attorney and representatives saying all the encounters were entirely consensual.
The temporary restraining order has since been lifted and Los Angeles County prosecutors announced in February they would not press charges against Bauer, citing insufficient evidence.
Bauer filed a defamation lawsuit against the woman and two media outlets over their coverage of the accusations.
The Dodgers signed Bauer in 2021 on a three-year deal worth $102 million following his departure from the Cincinnati Reds, where he became the club’s first Cy Young Award winner.
The Dodgers will have to decide by January 6 whether to add Bauer to their 40-man roster or to release him.
“We have just been informed of the arbitrator’s ruling and will comment as soon as practical,” the club said in a statement.