MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Monday will likely be when baseball history is once again changed when the league hands down multiple suspensions of players for using performance-enhancing drugs including New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Major League Baseball has already informed the teams of the looming suspensions, including the Yankees, and the Texas Rangers, who are expected to lose Nelson Cruz to a 50-game suspension.
The focus though continues to center on A-Rod.
Currently, the rumor going around is that A-Rod will travel to Chicago on Monday to join the Yankees. He will be informed of his suspension, which is likely to last through the entire 2014 season, and then he will suit up and play for New York tonight while his suspension is appealed.
Major League Baseball informed the Yankees on Sunday that A-Rod will be suspended for his links to the Coral Gables-based Biogenesis clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statement was authorized.
The Yankees weren’t told the exact length of the suspension, though they were under the impression it will be through the 2014 season, the person said. The Yankees star could get a shorter penalty if he agrees to give up the right to file a grievance and force the case before an arbitrator, the person added.
A suspension from Monday through 2014 would total 214 games, and an unsuccessful appeal could stretch serving the penalty into 2015.
All-Stars Nelson Cruz of Texas, Jhonny Peralta of Detroit and Everth Cabrera of San Diego were among those who could get 50-game suspensions from the probe, sparked in January when Miami New Times published documents linking many players to the closed clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.
Many players were expected to agree to penalties and start serving them immediately, but an appeal by a first-offender under the drug agreement would postpone his suspension until after a decision by an arbitrator.
Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun, the 2011 NL MVP, agreed July 22 to a 65-game ban through the rest of the 2013 season for his role with Biogenesis.
Braun was given a 50-game suspension for elevated testosterone that was overturned last year by arbitrator Shyam Das because of issues with the handling of the urine sample.
Since spring training, the union has said it will consider stiffer penalties starting in 2014.
“The home runs that are hit because a guy’s on performance-enhancing substances, those ruin somebody’s ERA, which ruins their arbitration case, which ruins their salary,” Los Angeles Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson said. “So it’s a whole domino effect.”
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn’t think A-Rod’s arrival would create more turmoil than the Yankees already are used to.
“I don’t suspect it’ll be awkward. Most of these guys know him as a teammate and have laughed a lot with Alex and been around Alex a lot,” he said. “I think it’ll be business as usual. I’m sure there will be more media there, obviously, tomorrow, but I think that’s probably more for Alex to deal with than the rest of the guys. I don’t think it’ll be a big deal.”
Lawyers involved in the drug cases have been trying to reach agreements that would avoid grievances. Deal or no deal, Commissioner Bud Selig was prepared to announce discipline.
Peralta didn’t think the possibility of a suspension made it harder to focus on the field.
“Nothing to worry about,” he said. “Play the game how I play every day, and try to enjoy every day.”
Asked what action he would take if penalized, Cruz said: “I haven’t decided what I’m going to do.”
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 for a positive test for Clenbuterol, his second drug offense.
In addition, Tampa Bay outfielder Manny Ramirez retired two years ago rather than face a 100-game suspension. When he decided to return for 2012 the penalty was cut to 50 games because he already had sat out almost an entire season.
Colorado catcher Eliezer Alfonzo was suspended for 100 games in September 2011, but the penalty was rescinded the following May because of handling issues similar to the ones involving Braun’s urine sample.
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