New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was suspended Monday for the rest of the 2013 season and all of next season for his role in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing-drug case, the harshest drug penalty in Major League Baseball history.
Rodriguez said he will appeal the suspension, allowing him to play Monday when the Yankees face the White Sox in Chicago. Rodriguez, 38, will be eligible to continue playing while his appeal is heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. A ruling is expected within 45 days.
According to a news release from MLB, “Rodriguez’s discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years.
“Rodriguez’s discipline under the Basic Agreement is for attempting 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 suspension, which will become effective on Thursday, August 8, will cover 211 Championship Season games and any 2013 Postseason games in which Rodriguez otherwise would have been eligible to play.
“Under the terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, Rodriguez’s suspension will be stayed until the completion of his appeal.”
Twelve other players suspended Monday -- including all-stars Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers, Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers and Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres -- have accepted their penalties, which will keep them sidelined until the final week of the regular season.
In addition to Cruz, Cabrera and Peralta, also suspended were Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Philadelphia pitcher Antonio Bastardo, Mets outfielder Jordany Valdespin and Mariners catcher Jesus Montero.
Minor leaguers who were suspended include Yankees outfielder Fernando Martinez, New York Mets outfielder Cesar Puello, Houston pitcher Sergio Escalona and free-agent pitchers Fautino De los Santos and Jordan Norbert.
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, all of whom already have served 50-game suspensions as a result of their violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program stemming from their connections to Biogenesis, will not receive additional discipline, MLB said.
The investigation found no violations by Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez or Baltimore Orioles infielder Danny Valencia, MLB said.
Monday’s sanctions were originally expected to be handed down last week but were delayed in part to try to persuade Rodriguez not to appeal his suspension.
The commissioner’s office had threatened Rodriguez with a lifetime ban if he didn’t cooperate, which led him to suggest that MLB and the Yankees were conspiring against him. If Rodriguez’s career ends in suspension, the Yankees could save as much as $100 million in salary owed the player.
According to ESPN, talks between Rodriguez’s representatives and the commissioner’s office grew tense before breaking down Saturday after Selig told officials he would no longer negotiate.
If Rodriguez loses his appeal, he would not be paid during his suspension. He is owed about $9 million for the rest of this season and $25 million next year.
Rodriguez, who entered play Monday with 647 career home runs, would earn a $6-million bonus for tying Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time list with 660.
Sources said MLB gave Rodriguez, a three-time American League Most Valuable Player, a harsher suspension than the other players because officials believe he interfered with the investigation of Biogenesis of America, the now-closed South Florida anti-aging clinic at the center of the drug scandal that led to the suspensions.
Tony Bosch, the former director of the clinic, has been cooperating with investigators, reportedly providing thousands of pages of records, logs, emails and receipts.