Dodgers president Stan Kasten’s joking comments in the wake of Trevor Bauer’s sexual assault investigation were not helpful to Major League Baseball’s efforts to create a comfortable and welcoming work environment for women, commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday.
When Manfred put former Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway and former New York Mets general manager Jared Porter on the ineligible list this season after investigations into sexual harassment allegations against both, the commissioner issued similar statements.
In the statement announcing Porter’s expulsion from the league, Manfred said: “We are committed to providing an appropriate work environment consistent with our values for all those involved in our game.”
On July 2, shortly after the Dodgers visited the White House, MLB put Bauer on paid administrative leave. Kasten met with a group of reporters at Nationals Park.
“It’s really great to follow up such a great morning,” Kasten said, chuckling, “and now I have to have this press conference.”
He joked about the advice he had given to manager Dave Roberts before his daily pregame Zoom.
“I told him, ‘They’re going to talk about Trevor Bauer,’” Kasten said. “Just say, ‘Can we please talk about foreign substances?’”
Kasten did proceed to add that the team respected the investigative process and needed it to play out before commenting.
“I think it’s really important we absorb the process as the best way for all of us to get the right result,” he said.
Kasten was widely criticized on social media for his comments.
“I think that the public passed judgment on whether those comments were appropriate or not,” Manfred said at a meeting of the Baseball Writers Assn. of America. “It was pretty clear what people thought about it.
“I don’t think it was a helpful comment, given all we are trying to achieve in this area.”
MLB put Bauer on paid administrative leave July 2, and the league and its players union since have agreed to extend the leave through Thursday. The league and the union are considering whether to further extend the leave, and for how long to do so. It is considered unlikely that Bauer returns to the Dodgers’ active roster this week.
With a court hearing pending on whether a restraining order against Bauer sought by his accuser will remain in force, and no decision about whether the Los Angeles County district attorney will file criminal charges, the woman who made the allegations against Bauer has not met with MLB investigators.
Manfred said MLB policies about domestic violence and sexual assault are “robust and appropriate” and said the league’s investigative unit scrutinizes all allegations. Since those policies were adopted in 2015, the league has suspended 14 players for violating them, with suspensions ranging from 15 to 162 games. Two players were investigated but not suspended.
“When we have found credibility to an allegation,” Manfred said, “if you look at the disciplinary record, we have sent a message about what we will and will not tolerate.”
The Pasadena Police Department is investigating Bauer for possible felony assault after the woman alleged he had choked her unconscious in two sexual encounters, on April 22 and May 16, and injured her face during the second one. The woman obtained a temporary restraining order against him on June 29, providing a hospital examination report that stated she had suffered “assault by manual strangulation” and “acute head injury.”
Representatives of Bauer have said he “vehemently denies her account of the two meetings” and that the encounters were “wholly consensual.”
Bauer has not been arrested or charged with a crime.
In a July 23 hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court, a judge is scheduled to consider whether to keep the restraining order in force. Family law attorneys say it is unlikely Bauer would testify at the hearing if the district attorney has not decided whether to charge him by then, because any testimony in the hearing could be used against him in a potential criminal trial.
Bauer can ask for a delay in the hearing.
Bauer, 30, played at Hart High in Santa Clarita and at UCLA. The Dodgers signed him to a three-year, $102-million free-agent contract last February. Since MLB placed Bauer on leave, the team has canceled a scheduled Bauer bobblehead promotion and withdrawn his replica jerseys from sale.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.