Also suspended were 12 other players, including All-Stars
The punishments all stem from an MLB investigation into
Rodriguez said he would appeal his suspension, which was due to take effect Thursday. During his appeal, he will be allowed to continue playing and draw his salary. He has been recovering from hip surgery and made his season debut for the Yankees in Chicago against the
Speaking before the game, Rodriguez refused to say whether he had used performance-enhancing drugs. "Obviously I'm disappointed," he said. "What we've always fought for is the process, and … at some point we'll sit in front of an arbiter and we'll give our case. That's as much as I feel comfortable saying right now."
Although Rodriguez has never failed an MLB drug test, he has admitted using now-banned performance-enhancing substances while playing for the Texas Ranger from 2001 to 2003, before players were tested.
First-time offenders receive 50-game
MLB also said Rodriguez had attempted to "cover up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation."
The suspensions stemmed not from baseball's regular drug-testing but from an eight-month MLB investigation into Biogenesis, which provided performance-enhancing substances to athletes in several sports. The clinic's founder and director, Tony Bosch, cooperated with authorities by providing records and other documents that baseball officials say proved the players violated baseball's drug rules.
Rodriguez will remain eligible to play until arbitrator Fredric Horowitz rules on his case. That could take months, during which time Rodriguez could add to his lifetime statistics — he is fifth on baseball's career home run list with 647, 13 shy of Willie Mays.
Michael Weiner, executive director of baseball's players' union, said he would back Rodriguez in fighting the suspension, making the case that the commissioner did not act properly under MLB's collective bargaining agreement with its players.
Rodriguez's suspension would cost him $38 million in salary and possibly end his career. By the end of 2014, he would have missed two entire seasons as he approached his 40th birthday.
The suspensions of players who had not tested positive for the drugs have highlighted the weakness of MLB's testing procedures and the number of players who have found ways to hide drug use, said Travis Tygart, chief executive of the
"Athletes with resources will attempt to circumvent the drug-testing process, which is why it's important to hold them accountable when they cheat with these measures," he said.
Unlike other major U.S. sports, Major League Baseball supplements its testing program with investigators who pursue leads such as those that emerged in the Biogenesis case.
Several major league players called on their union to push for stricter penalties for drug use, something Weiner said would be discussed.
"There's been a huge change in the ways players view this," said pitcher
In addition to Cruz, Cabrera and Peralta, also accepting suspensions without pay were Yankees catcher
Bastardo's suspension drew an immediate response from former big-league reliever
Minor leaguers suspended for their association with Biogenesis were Yankees outfielder
"Hopefully, this will be the end of it," said Dodgers hitting coach
"Wish I never was a part of it. Everybody, especially the players, they don't want any more part of it."