*Major League Baseball came down heavy Monday on the players it found to have been involved with the South Florida clinic Biogenesis, suspending Alex Rodriguez through the end of the 2014 season and banning 12 others for 50 games, including three All-Stars: Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers, Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres and Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers, reports ESPN.com.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig said Rodriguez’s punishment will begin Thursday and cover the postseasons and was covered under the drug program’s protocols and 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,” Selig said in the statement.
Rodriguez suspension is the equivalent of 211 regular-season games because he has 72 hours to inform baseball that he will appeal. He is expected to take that avenue and will be allowed to play until his appeal is heard.
“Under the terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, Rodriguez’s suspension will be stayed until the completion of his appeal if Rodriguez files a grievance challenging his discipline,” Selig said.
The 12 other players agreed to deals for their suspensions in which they gave up the right to appeals. The other nine are:
• 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 players’ union made a late appeal to MLB for a deal for Rodriguez but was told there would be no more negotiations, sources told ESPN’s T.J. Quinn.
Rodriguez lost the support of the Taylor Hooton Foundation. The group fights performance-enhancing drug use by youngsters and was started by Taylor Hooton’s family in 2004 after the player died following the use of anabolic steroids.
“We have had a good relationship with Rodriguez since early 2009 when we stood with him at his press conference in Tampa,” the group said in a statement. “There, he issued his public mea culpa, committed that he would not be involved in the future with banned substances, and said that he wanted to help us to encourage kids to stay away from them. He offered to use his situation as an example to let them know that it is not right for them to use performance-enhancing drugs. Working together, we’ve delivered messages to thousands of kids and have impacted their lives in a positive way. But, today’s announcement leaves us no option but to discontinue our relationship with Alex Rodriguez.”
The Yankees have said they expected Rodriguez to be accused of recruiting other athletes for the clinic, attempting to obstruct MLB’s investigation and 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.
The Yankees also expected Rodriguez to be eligible to play Monday night, sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney, because they expected his suspension to be tied solely to a drug-policy violation and thus eligible to be appealed.