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Source: Bauer's hearing vs. MLB to begin May 23

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Published in Baseball
Friday, 13 May 2022 16:36

Trevor Bauer's grievance hearing against Major League Baseball will begin May 23, a source told ESPN on Friday, confirming a report from The Athletic.

Bauer was handed a 324-game suspension on April 29 for violating MLB's domestic violence policy, twice the amount of the previous longest suspension since the policy was implemented in August 2015. Bauer, who has firmly denied sexual assault allegations against him by as many as three women, is the first player to appeal a suspension under the policy.

"In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league's domestic violence and sexual assault policy," Bauer wrote in a statement. "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, 31, was accused of sexual assault by a San Diego woman who requested a restraining order and essentially alleged that he took consensual rough sex too far over the course of two encounters last April and May. A Los Angeles judge denied the woman a permanent restraining order in August, and the L.A. County District Attorney's Office declined to file criminal charges against Bauer in February.

Hours after MLB's suspension was announced, The Washington Post published an interview with a woman from Columbus, Ohio, who accused the pitcher of choking her unconscious without her consent dozens of times during a years-long relationship that began in 2013. She became the third known woman to accuse Bauer of sexual assault and speak with league investigators about it, following another Ohio woman who sought a temporary restraining order against Bauer in June 2020, according to the Post.

MLB, which has the autonomy to suspend players without a criminal conviction, did not reveal the findings of its investigation or specify how many accusers it spoke with throughout the process.

The mechanism of the grievance hearing will be similar to those that have previously taken place for other matters, the most notable recent examples being the PED suspensions of Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun. A third-party arbitrator hired by both MLB and the MLB Players Association -- in this case, Marty Scheinman -- will review the findings and preside over a hearing that could see witnesses testify and might extend over several months. The arbitrator will decide whether Bauer's suspension will be denied, upheld or reduced.

The grievance process, which could take place in person or virtually, might play out over several weeks or even months, depending on Scheinman's availability and the extent of each side's case. Scheinman will technically serve as the head of a three-person arbitration panel, along with someone appointed by MLB and another person appointed by the MLBPA. But Scheinman will ultimately make the final ruling given that the MLB and MLBPA representatives will likely cast votes that will cancel one another out.

The Dodgers signed Bauer to a three-year, $102 million contract in February 2021 on the heels of him winning the National League Cy Young Award as a member of the Cincinnati Reds during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season. But he was placed on administrative leave midway through the first year of his contract and remained there -- while receiving his full salary -- until the league decided on its suspension three weeks into the 2021 season.

Because Bauer did not agree to the suspension, the games he served on administrative leave won't count toward time served. If his suspension is upheld, Bauer won't be eligible to return until the 19th game of the 2024 season. Bauer will remain on the restricted list for the length of his suspension and thus would not be allowed to pursue opportunities to pitch in another country. Under his current suspension, the Dodgers would save roughly $60 million.

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