Dodgers still plan to start Trevor Bauer on Sunday as assault allegations loom: 'It's out of our hands'

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Warning: The following article contains graphic allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence.

A set of disturbing abuse allegations have not stopped the Los Angeles Dodgers from planning to start Trevor Bauer.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters on Thursday that the team still has Bauer as their scheduled starting pitcher on Sunday against the Washington Nationals, saying the team is following the recommendation of MLB.

From MLB.com's Juan Toribio:

"I'm in the position of following the lead of Major League Baseball. Their recommendation was for us to — he was our scheduled Sunday starter, and to move forward and have him start that game on Sunday. And so for me to try to read into it anymore outside of just following what they had advised me and us to do, I just choose to follow kind of their lead." 

A woman was granted a temporary ex parte restraining order against Bauer on Tuesday after alleging the pitcher had assaulted her during two sexual encounters earlier this year. A hearing in which Bauer will respond to the allegations, which are still under investigation by Pasadena police, is scheduled for July 23.

Roberts added that the decision is "out of our hands," though that's not really true. Teams are restricted from disciplining players without the due process of the CBA, but players aren't entitled to be on the field. Roberts, not MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, fills out the Dodgers lineup.

Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register speculated the team is afraid of Bauer filing a grievance arguing that not starting him would count as discipline, but it's hard to see such a grievance being more damaging for the team than a player facing Bauer's allegations being allowed to take the field in a Dodger uniform.

Meanwhile, Bauer seems to be going about his business as usual:

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Bauer reportedly declined to speak with reporters as he walked off the field.

The allegations against Trevor Bauer

The graphic details of the allegations against Bauer emerged a day after the restraining order was granted, with the woman reportedly claiming, under penalty of perjury, that Bauer had choked her to unconsciousness and performed nonconsensual anal sex in their first encounter and choked her to unconsciousness again then punched her in the head repeatedly during the second encounter. 

The alleged victim reportedly included photos of her face visibly bruised with two black eyes, a bloodied lip and scratches to the side of her face, plus medical notes indicating “significant head and facial trauma” with signs of a basilar skull fracture.

Bauer's representatives responded to the details with screengrabs of text messages not included in the woman's filing showing flirtatious banter between the woman and Bauer between the two encounters. In one exchange, she appears to consent to being choked and slapped in the face, but not punched. 

The pitcher's reps have maintained both encounters were consensual instances of rough sex.

How MLB could step in with Trevor Bauer

If the Dodgers plan to still pitch Bauer and the matter is still pending in the legal system, it falls onto MLB and Manfred to make a choice about keeping Bauer on or off the field.

In the case of Roberto Osuna, MLB placed the then-Toronto Blue Jays closer on paid administrative leave after he was arrested and charged with assault against the mother of his child. While the initial term of administrative leave can last up to seven days, Manfred is allowed to extend it should the league deem it necessary.

Osuna was kept on leave until he received a 75-game suspension a month later, retroactive to the first day of his leave. Other cases of players accused of domestic violence being initially placed on administrative leave include Bauer's teammate Julio Urias and New York Yankees pitcher Domingo German.

With Bauer's start still scheduled for Sunday, MLB now has less than 72 hours to make a decision.

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