MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig may be ready to take an unprecedented step to deal with Alex Rodriguez and his role in the Biogenesis/performance-enhancing drug scandal.
Based on the drug agreement between the league and the players union, once a suspension is handed down on a first-time offender; the player can continue to play while an appeal is being heard. However, Commissioner Selig may not want to have Rodriguez back on the field at all.
According to multiple reports, Selig may be preparing to suspend Rodriguez under the collective bargaining agreement, which would prevent Rodriguez from playing even after his near-certain appeal is made.
Rodriguez could be punished under Article XII (B) of the Basic Agreement, which states: “Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law.”
If suspended under that section, Rodriguez would serve the penalty while a grievance is litigated before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz — unless the union asks for a stay and the arbitrator grants one, which would be unusual under the grievance procedure. And baseball could always try to punish A-Rod on drug violations later.
It would be difficult for Commissioner Bud Selig to remove the arbitrator from the process. A provision in Article XI gives the commissioner permission to rule instead of the arbitrator on a complaint “involving the preservation of the integrity of, or the maintenance of public confidence in, the game of baseball.”
But a letter from Selig that is Attachment 1 states: “I understand that the players’ association has expressed concern that the commissioner might take some action pursuant to Article XI (A) (1) (b) of the Basic Agreement which could negate rights of players under the new Basic Agreement. While I have difficulty seeing that this is a real problem, I am quite willing to assure the association that the commissioner will take no such action.”
In addition, if Selig attempted to bypass the arbitrator, the union would have the right to reopen the labor contract with respect to that provision.
While it’s unlikely Selig would resort to using the powers in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, it does open a new front that A-Rod will have to deal with and gives MLB even more leverage against him if a deal is being negotiated, which A-Rod’s attorneys say is not.
For their part, the New York Yankees believe Rodriguez may be accused of trying to recruit other athletes for the Biogenesis clinic, attempting to obstruct MLB’s investigation, and of not being truthful with MLB in the past when he discussed his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty two years ago to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada.
Four years ago, Rodriguez admitted using PEDs while with Texas from 2001-03. He has repeatedly denied using them since.
Baseball has been investigating Rodriguez and other players since a January report in the Miami New Times alleging they received PEDs from Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic on Florida.
Rodriguez, who turned 38 Saturday, has not played this season following hip surgery in January. The three-time AL MVP, fifth on the career list with 647 home runs, appeared to be on the verge of rejoining New York on July 22, but the Yankees said a day earlier that an MRI revealed a strained quadriceps.
Rodriguez pushed to be activated last Friday, but the Yankees said he wouldn’t even resume a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment until Aug. 1. Rodriguez then went on a New York radio station to criticize the team’s decision and lack of action.
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