Posted: Aug 5, 2013 2:48 PM by CBS Sports
Three-time MVP Alex Rodriguez has been suspended through the 2014 season while 12 other players have accepted 50-game bans as part of Major League Baseball's most sweeping drug scandal punishment.
Rodriguez's suspension, effective August 8, covers 211 games.
In a statement, MLB said Rodriguez's drug ban was for "his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone over the course of multiple years."
"I am disappointed with the penalty and intend to appeal and fight this through the process," Rodriguez in a statement after the suspension was handed down. "I am eager to get back on the field and be with my teammates in Chicago tonight. I want to thank my family, friends and fans who have stood by my side through all this."
Earlier, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reported that A-Rod planned to play Monday night for the Yankees against the White Sox.
In its statement, MLB also accused Rodriguez of "attempting to cover-up his violations ... by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation."
Rodriguez, 38, was one of 13 players suspended by the league Monday for their links to Biogenesis, a now-defunct clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs to athletes across several professional sports.
Nelson Cruz of the Rangers, Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers and Everth Cabrera of the Padres - all 2013 All-Stars - accepted 50-game suspensions without appeal.
Nine other players accepted suspensions without appeal: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and outfielder Fernando Martinez; Philadelphia pitcher Antonio Bastardo; Seattle catcher Jesus Montero; New York Mets infielder Jordany Valdespin and outfielder Cesar Puello; Houston pitcher Sergio Escalona; San Diego pitcher Fautino De Los Santos; and free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto.
A-Rod, who has been rehabbing from hip surgery and quadriceps injury and hasn't played since his dismal performance in the playoffs last October, is still owed $86 million for the final four years of his contract with the Bronx Bombers. He is the highest paid player in professional baseball.
As CBS News correspondent Don Dahler reported, an arbitrator would have 25 days to rule on A-Rod's appeal, and the evidence against the player would be made public. If the suspension ultimately stands, he will lose around $34 million in salary.
The evidence is said to suggest Rodriguez bought or used steroids in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Heyman reported.
In a statement, the players' association said it supported the 12 suspensions that were accepted but said it agreed with Rodriguez's decision to fight his ban.
"We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement," MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner said. "Mr. Rodriguez knows that the union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously."
A-Rod has seen both cheers and jeers since joining the Yankees in 2004. He put up monster numbers in several seasons - winning two MVP awards while in pinstripes. In 2007, he signed a 10-year, $275 million contract and two years later, he led the Bronx Bombers to their 27thWorld Series title -the first championship of his career.
But since than that championship year, A-Rod has been downright awful in October, going 12 for 75 (.160) with zero home runs in the past three postseasons. Furthermore, he admitted that he used PEDs while playing with Texas a decade earlier, incurring the wrath of many fans and baseball writers.
Still, unless he decides not to appeal, Rodriguez was due to return to the Yankees lineup Monday night when New York plays at the Chicago White Sox.
"He's in there, and I'm going to play him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Sunday.
Rodriguez finished a brief minor league injury rehab assignment on Saturday night at Double-A Trenton. After Friday night's game, A-Rod suggested the league and the Yankees were conspiring to thwart his return to the big leagues.
"There is more than one party that benefits from me not ever stepping back on the field. And that's not my teammates and it's not the Yankee fans," he said. "When all this stuff is going on in the background and people are finding creative ways to cancel your contract and stuff like that, I think that's concerning for me."
MLB reportedly shut down negotiations because of the comments.
"It's not surprising he's chosen to drag everyone through the mud," a league official told the New York Daily News. "In everything he said, he's been all over the page, accusing everyone of everything and coming off as so disingenuous. How can you possibly make deals with somebody like this?"
New York Daily News baseball columnist Bill Madden told CBS News that if Rodriguez is sidelined until 2015, don't expect to see him in pinstripes again.
"This is a guy who would then be 40 years old, having had two hip surgeries, so it's highly unlikely that he could ever even think about playing again," Madden said.
Despite his tarnished reputation, Rodriguez is one of the most prolific hitters in baseball history: The three-time MVP has hit 647 home runs (fifth on the all-time list) and his 1,950 runs batted in rank seventh all-time. He has led the American League in home runs five times and was the 1996 AL batting champ.
The latest baseball drug scandal was triggered in January when Miami New Times published documents linking many players to Biogenesis, the closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.
In July, Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun, who won the 2011 NL MVP, agreed to a 65-game ban through the rest of the 2013 season for his role with the clinic. Last year, the Brewers slugger had been given a 50-game suspension for testing positive for elevated testosterone - but it was overturned because of a technicality with the handling of the urine sample.
According to the Associated Press, there have been 43 suspensions under the major league drug agreement since testing with penalties for first offenses started in 2005. The longest penalty served has been a 100-game suspension by San Francisco pitcher Guillermo Mota, who twice tested positive for PEDs.
Tampa Bay outfielder Manny Ramirez retired two years ago rather than face a 100-game suspension.
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