Major League Baseball on Friday suspended Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer for two seasons, finding that he violated the league's policy against domestic violence.
In one of the most significant suspensions ever handed down against an active player, Bauer will be banned from play for 324 games following an "extensive investigation" by MLB, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced.
The suspension is "without pay, effective today, for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy," according to a league statement.
"In accordance with the terms of the Policy, the Commissioner’s Office will not issue any further statements at this point in time," MLB added.
Bauer would be eligible to play again in late April 2024.
He quickly issued his own statement on Friday, saying he'll fight the suspension and again denied any wrongdoing.
"In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league’s domestic violence & sexual assault policy," the pitcher said. "I am appealing this action and expect to prevail. As we have throughout this process, my representatives & I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings."
The Dodgers acknowledged the action by MLB and said they do "not condone or excuse any acts of domestic violence or sexual assault."
It's the longest suspension MLB has handed down since the league and union agreed to policies on sexual assault and domestic violence in 2015.
Other notable MLB suspensions include players from the "Black Sox" scandal and Alex Rodriguez.
Eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox, accused of throwing World Series games, were permanently banned from the sport by Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball's first commissioner.
And New York Yankees slugger Rodriguez was taken off the field for all of 2014 for repeated use of performance-enhancing drugs. He appealed the ban. Rodriguez apologized to fans in 2015 and said he took full responsibility for the “mistakes” that led to his suspension
The punishment against Bauer comes despite him avoiding criminal liability in a 2021 case in California.
Earlier this year, L.A. County prosecutors announced they will not pursue charges against Bauer after a San Diego woman accused him of sexual assault during sexual encounters at his home in Pasadena.
Two other women, both from Ohio, have reportedly made similar allegations against the pitcher.
That woman sought a restraining order against Bauer in June 2020, roughly a year after her on-and-off relationship with him ended, according to the pitcher’s representatives.
A lawyer for the woman later confirmed to NBC News that his client made those allegations.
On Friday night, the Washington Post reported on a Columbus woman who said Bauer regularly abused her during sex and alleged he ignored her warnings to stop choking her before she became unconscious. The woman, who is not named in the story, also shared her allegations with MLB, the newspaper reported.
NBC News has not independently confirmed the Washington Post’s reporting.
Joe Tacopina, a lawyer for this third accuser, could not be immediately reached for comment by NBC News late Friday night.
Bauer's representative admitted that the pitcher had a "wholly consensual sexual relationship from 2013-2018" with the accuser but denied any wrongdoing.
And in a lengthy video response posted on his Twitter feed, Bauer read his representative's full statement, insisting there was never any nonconsensual act and adding: "In fact, she is the one who introduced me to choking, both in our relationship and as a consensual act during sex."
He'd previously been with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team now known as the Cleveland Guardians, and the Cincinnati Reds.
Bauer's signing came with some off-the-field risk, as Bauer has been accused of bullying women online.
In the first two months of the 2021 season, Bauer went 6-2 with an ERA of 2.24.
If the suspension to April 2024 holds, Bauer could be denied more than $60 million. He had still been getting paid before the MLB ruling on Friday.