New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, the marquee name in baseball’s latest performance-enhancing drug scandal that originated at a South Florida anti-aging clinic, will be suspended through the 2014 season, though Rodriguez will be allowed to play as he pursues an appeal of the decision, according to a report Sunday night by the Associated Press.
The AP cited an anonymous source in saying the Yankees had been informed of the impending suspension. Officials from Major League Baseball and Rodriguez’s attorney, David Cornwell, did not respond to inquiries late Sunday night.
As jarring as the decision is — only four players in history have hit more home runs than Rodriguez, a polarizing figure for most of his 19 major league seasons — it has been expected for the better part of a month. The entire affair could come to an awkward head Monday in Chicago.
There, the Yankees are scheduled to play the White Sox, and Rodriguez — who has missed this entire season following hip surgery — is scheduled to make his 2013 debut. His rehabilitation effort, conducted at obscure minor league ballparks and at the Yankees’ spring training facility in Tampa, has been shrouded by MLB’s investigation into Biogenesis, the Miami clinic that reportedly has ties to several major leaguers. Yankees Manager Joe Girardi told reporters Sunday he intended to play Rodriguez on Monday night.
MLB appears set to levy suspensions against as many as a dozen players mentioned in documents obtained from Biogenesis and its owner, Tony Bosch. The potential names include stars involved in pennant races such as outfielder Nelson Cruz of Texas and Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Those suspensions are expected to be 50 games — the number agreed upon for first-time offenders in the collective bargaining agreement between baseball and the players’ union.
Rodriguez’s case, though, appears different. In 2009, Sports Illustrated reported he tested positive for anabolic steroids twice in 2003, and he subsequently admitted to being “young and stupid” with how he handled what he put in his body at that point.
Rodriguez, 38, is a three-time MVP and 14-time all-star. His case could take one of several turns even after a suspension is handed down. He could, the AP reported, get a lesser penalty if he pledges not to file a grievance and instead leaves the case in the hands of an arbitrator.
On July 22, MLB announced it had suspended Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, a former National League MVP, for the remainder of the season because of his ties to Biogenesis. Braun had previously avoided a suspension by pleading that a courier had mishandled a sample of his urine — a specimen that later turned up dirty.