Major League Baseball announced its penalty today in the closely watched Alex Rodriguez case in the Biogenesis performance enhancing drugs scandal, while revealing the names of 12 other players who have agreed with the league to 50-game suspensions, ESPN reports.
The Yankees third baseman received a suspension through the 2014 season, as was widely expected. Rodriguez is expected to appeal, and was reportedly preparing to play tonight in Chicago when the Yankees visit the Chicago White Sox. He would remain eligible to play during the appeal process.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement: “As a social institution with enormous social responsibilities, Baseball must do everything it can to maintain integrity, fairness and a level playing field. We are committed to working together with players to reiterate that performance-enhancing drugs will not be tolerated in our game.”
ESPN adds: "Selig said Rodriguez’s punishment will begin Thursday and cover the postseasons and was covered under the drug program’s protocols and Rodriguez’s ‘use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years.’"
The suspensions affect eight MLB teams, with the following players all reportedly agreeing to 50-game suspensions without the right to appeal:
–Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers, outfielder.
–Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres, shortstop.
–Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers, shortstop.
–Antonio Bastardo, Philadelphia Phillies, reliever.
–Jordany Valdespin, New York Mets, outfielder.
–Francisco Cervelli, New York Yankees, catcher.
–Jesus Montero, Seattle Mariners, catcher.
–Cesar Puello, New York Mets, outfield prospect.
–Fautino De Los Santos, San Diego Padres, pitching prospect.
–Sergio Escalona, Houston Astros, pitching prospect.
–Fernando Martinez, New York Yankees, outfield prospect.
–Jordan Norberto, free-agent pitcher.
"The players’ union made a late appeal to MLB for a deal for Rodriguez but was told there would be no more negotiations," the ESPN story reports. "He will be punished under the Joint Drug Agreement and other areas of the league’s collective-bargaining agreement but will be allowed to play while he appeals."
"Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun was the first player to reach an agreement with MLB on a suspension for his connection to the Biogenisis case," ESPN reports. "The 2011 NL MVP accepted a season-ending 65-game suspension last month." The suspension for Braun came down July 22.
The Boston Globe adds: "In January, the Miami New Times broke the story that Biogenesis, a South Florida anti-aging clinic, had supplied several high-profile major leaguers with human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs. Since that time, Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch has cooperated with the league’s investigation of the players."
The formal announcement of the suspensions was delayed by negotiations between Rodriguez and MLB, the Globe reports.
"A baseball official told USA Today that Rodriguez was given the choice to accept a ban through the 2014 season or face a lifetime ban from the sport," the Globe reports. "After further negotiations between the league and Rodriguez’s representatives, the slugger will be suspended under baseball’s drug policy and thus is able to appeal his suspension. A suspension under commissioner Bud Selig’s ‘best interests [of] baseball’ clause would not have been eligible for an appeal."
Rodriguez inked a 10-year, $275 million contract in December 2007. His return on opening day of the 2015 season would come four months before his 40th birthday.