Major League Baseball has suspended 13 players, including New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez, following an investigation into Biogenesis of America, a shuttled Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
12 of the 13 players (excluding Rodriguez) have agreed to 50-game suspensions, without the right to appeal, for their roles in the Biogenesis case. They are as follows:
• Nelson Cruz – Rangers – Outfielder (All-Star)
• Everth Cabrera – Padres – Shortstop (All-Star)
• Jhonny Peralta – Tigers – Shortstop (All-Star)
• Antonio Bastardo – Phillies – Reliever
• Francisco Cervelli – Yankees – Catcher (On DL)
• Jordany Valdespin – Mets – Outfielder (Minors)
• Jesus Montero – Mariners – Catcher (Minors)
• Cesar Puello – Mets – Outfielder (Minors)
• Sergio Escalona – Astros – Pitcher (Minors)
• Fernando Martinez – Yankees – Outfielder (Minors)
• Fautino De Los Santos – Free-Agent – Pitcher
• Jordan Norberto – Free-Agent – Pitcher
The harshest penalty was set against 38-year-old Rodriguez who has been suspended for 211 games, which will be through until the conclusion of the 2014 season.
However, the Third Baseman is free to play whilst the Major League Baseball Players Association formally appeals the suspension. The case for the appeal has now been sent to an independent arbitrator for processing.
Rodriguez, who went 1-for-5 in the Yankees’ 6-5 defeat to the White Sox on Wednesday night (Thursday morning Australia time), said he had “no reaction” to the accusations at hand.
Union official, Michael Weiner said the punishment was “way out of line.”
Under the collective bargaining and joint drug agreements, discipline must meet a “just cause” standard.
Rodriguez’s punishment was scheduled to begin Thursday, but will keep playing until Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz hears the allegations. Reports suggesting that Horowitz isn’t expected to rule until November or December at the earliest.
At a news conference before Monday’s game, Rodriguez said, “Obviously, I’m disappointed with the news today,”
“What we’ve always fought for is the process and I think we have that, and I think 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.”
He was then asked if he denies using performance-enhancing drugs, he said: “We’ll have a forum to discuss all of that and we’ll talk about it then.”
Commissioner of the MLB, Bud Selig said in a statement that Rodriguez’s suspension was allowed under the drug program’s protocols and was based on 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.”
“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 Yankees open a three-game series against American League Central-leading Detroit on Friday night in New York. It will be the first home game for Rodriguez since the suspension was announced.
Rodriguez is currently on a 10-year, $275 million contract with the Yankees that was signed in December 2007.
Two other players named in Biogenesis reports – Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals and Danny Valencia of the Baltimore Orioles – were cleared of wrongdoing and will not be disciplined.
pic: grant land