Trevor Bauer, embroiled in controversy in the wake of sexual assault allegations, is still on track to make his next scheduled start on Sunday, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. That start will come in Washington, D.C., the nation's capital, on the Fourth of July -- unless something changes over the next three days.
"As of now, we're kind of in the middle of letting the commissioner's office, Major League Baseball, handle this," Roberts said from D.C. on Thursday, adding that Bauer is with the team and was getting ready to play at Nationals Park. "It's in their hands right now, and right now, our direction was to just move forward and not do anything as far as the player or Trevor, so our plan is he is gonna start on Sunday."
Bauer has been accused by a woman of choking her until she lost consciousness, punching her in several areas of her body and leaving her with injuries that required hospitalization over the course of two sexual encounters earlier this year, according to a domestic violence restraining order that was filed in L.A. County Superior Court this week, copies of which were obtained by ESPN on Wednesday.
While asking the court to issue a no-contact order that would prevent Bauer from coming within 100 yards of her, the woman, a 27-year-old who resides in the San Diego area, provided graphic details of sexual encounters with Bauer and photographs that show two black eyes, scratches on her face and bruised and cut lips. The alleged incidents took place at Bauer's home in Pasadena, California, on April 21 and May 16, and are being investigated by the local police department.
The restraining order was executed as a temporary ex parte, which can be achieved without input from the other party. Bauer's side plans to deny the account during a hearing scheduled for July 23, according to his representatives. On Tuesday, those representatives issued a statement denying that Bauer had assaulted the woman, calling the encounters "wholly consensual." The following day, they provided a series of text messages that show the woman inviting rough sex and talking about how she wants him to "gimme all the pain" and "choke me out."
MLB has opened an investigation into Bauer under its joint domestic violence policy with the players' union, sources told ESPN. MLB can place Bauer on a paid seven-day administrative leave in the meantime, but given that no arrests have been made and Bauer denies the allegations, the league is expected to wait for either the police investigation or its internal investigation to play out before taking action.
Roberts said he has spoken to Bauer since details of the alleged sexual assault became public -- initially by The Athletic -- but did not divulge details about their conversation. Asked if it bothered him that Bauer would start on Sunday given what has transpired, Roberts repeated that it's "out of our hands. Regardless of what direction the organization wanted to do, it's something that this is what has to happen, and so it's out of everyone's hands."
The Dodgers are set to begin a four-game series with the Nationals on Thursday night, and the team is slated to visit the White House ahead of the game Friday night in celebration of its World Series victory last year.
Bauer signed a three-year, $102 million contract with the Dodgers that includes two player options in February, three months after winning the 2020 National League Cy Young Award as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. He is now the highest-paid player in the sport with a salary of $40 million in 2021.
The Dodgers are awaiting investigations by MLB and the City of Pasadena Police Department, but they also have the freedom to skip Bauer's turn and avoid what could be a major distraction for the team.
Asked how close he came to making that decision, Roberts said: "I'm in the position of following the lead of Major League Baseball. Their recommendation was for us to use our scheduled Sunday starter and to move forward and have him start that game on Sunday. For me to try to read into it any more outside of just following what they had advised me and us to do -- I just choose to follow kind of their lead."