‘ Dodgers teammates mum on Trevor Bauer situation

DENVER — He is still their teammate, but a teammate they won’t talk about.

They hear his name, but won’t repeat it.

They hear the accusations of sexual assault stemming from two sexual encounters with a woman in April and May, and without knowing what happened, cringe in anguish.

The Los Angeles Dodgers listened to all of questions about him Monday, from reporters to friends to family, but politely declined to publicly talk about him.

The Dodgers have four players at the 91st All-Star Game, but their richest and most polarizing player, the one who wasn’t invited to be at Coors Field in Denver, was discussed more than any of them.

Dodgers starter pitcher Trevor Bauer, who hasn’t pitched in a game since June 28, is on seven-day administrative leave while police and MLB investigate the accusations, including that Bauer choked the woman unconscious and punched her.

Representatives for Bauer have denied the allegations and said his relations with her were consensual. A court hearing is scheduled for July 23 in Los Angeles over whether to leave the restraining order in place.

Technically, Bauer could be eligible to pitch again as early as Friday.

Realistically, he has thrown his last pitch of the season.

Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer has made 17 starts this season, but none since June 28.

Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer has made 17 starts this season, but none since June 28.

Major League Baseball will likely request another seven-day extension on Bauer’s administrative leave but must receive approval from the players union. If the union does not consent, or Bauer appeals the decision, MLB could then suspend him without pay.

Even if no criminal charges are filed by the Pasadena (California) Police Department, MLB can still suspend Bauer under its Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy.

“We’re not really sure what’s going on there,” Dodgers All-Star third baseman Justin Turner told USA TODAY Sports. “We’re just going to show up every day with what we have in the clubhouse and find a way to win ballgames.

“The distraction is outside our clubhouse. We get paid to win baseball games.’’

Yet at the same time, the Dodgers have no expectation that Bauer will return during the second half of this season to help defend their World Series title.

“I think we’re going to move forward with the guys we have,’’ Dodgers All-Star first baseman Max Muncy said. “It’s tough. I don’t want to comment on his situation. We have a lot of depth. We can fill in with pieces.’’

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The Dodgers entered the season as heavy favorites to win the World Series with an abundance of riches once they signed Bauer to a three-year, $102 million contract. That depth was tested when talented starter Dustin May underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in May, and now the Dodgers are indefinitely without Bauer.

Losing a starting pitcher to a season-ending injury is acceptable.

Losing a starting pitcher because of a sexual assault investigation is appalling.

“I can’t imagine what the clubhouse is going through,” Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks said. “You see a person in the clubhouse, and you think you know them.

“Let’s see what happens, and the truth prevails, but I will forever stand against domestic violence.’’

Hendriks’ sentiments were echoed by several All-Stars Monday, including those who are former teammates or friends with Bauer, hoping the truth will come out.

“I don’t want to speak for the other guys about this,” Cincinnati Reds All-Star outfielder Jesse Winker, Bauer’s former teammate said, “but I have my own thoughts about it. I want to keep within. I just want to leave it there.

“It’s just very awkward to talk about. Wow, is it tough. It’s just very challenging and tough to talk about.’’

It leaves the Dodgers, and in particular manager Dave Roberts, in an uncomfortable position. He is trying to keep everyone together knowing that the allegations against Bauer can potentially fracture their clubhouse.

“Your focus is intended to be on the team, and the game,’’ said Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black, one of Roberts’ closest friends, “but when something like this happens, it throws you for a loop. Being a manager, and being the point man so often during the course of the day to speak, it make it hard.

“It’s a tough one.’’

The Dodgers, 56-35, who trail the San Francisco Giants by two games in the National League West, insist they will be fine, and that their confidence hasn’t waned. They remind everyone that they won the World Series a year ago without Bauer.

“There’s obviously a lot that’s up in the air right now,’’ Dodgers All-Star Chris Taylor said. “Obviously, we’re going to need more than three starting pitchers.’’

The Dodgers plan to have David Price join the starting rotation at some point, but they still need another starter, perhaps some bullpen help, and have confidence that Andrew Friedman, Dodgers president of baseball operations, will come up with reinforcements at the trade deadline.

“I know right now it looks a little bleak in the starting rotation,’’ Dodgers All-Star pitcher Walker Buehler said, “but Andrew has never been afraid to get guys to help us. I don’t want to talk about (Bauer). It is what it is. It’s out of my control.

“We’ll strap it together, and put it together, whatever we have to do win.

“Right now, I wouldn’t bet against us.’’

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Despite distraction, Dodgers ‘move forward’ without Trevor Bauer

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