After weeks of speculation and stare-downs, Alex Rodriguez was dealt his suspension Monday. Major League Baseball suspended Rodriguez for 211 games, beginning Thursday and running through the end of the 2014 season, for his part in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drugs scandal.
Rodriguez will appeal the punishment, allowing him to play for the Yankees in the meantime, including Monday night in Chicago against the White Sox, when he batted cleanup and played third base.
At a pre-game news conference, he would not answer questions about whether he ever took PEDs. If he had answered them, those words could have been used against him in the arbitration process.
All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece on Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case. This was the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago. The 12 players agreed to their 50-game penalties and began serving them immediately, giving them a chance to return for the playoffs.
“I’m fighting for my life. I have to defend myself; no one else will,” Rodriguez said. “The last seven months have been a nightmare. Probably the worst time of my life.” He also said he’d seen all the evidence MLB has against him. There is a good chance he will be able to play the rest of the season with the Yankees, and likely have an effect on the playoff race.
Rodriguez’s career, once promising to be brilliant and historic, is not yet over. But what remains figures to be an ambiguous denouement. “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,” commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement released by his office.
Rodriguez is signed with the Yankees through the 2017 season and is guaranteed nearly $80 million of the record 10-year deal he signed in 2007. The Yankees and A-Rod have been in disagreement lately, as Rodriguez has hinted his belief that the Yankees were working against him to get out of paying him his remaining money.
“We are in full support of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” read a statement released by the Yankees. “We also recognize and respect the appeals process. Until the process under the Drug Program is complete, we will have no comment. We are confident that the process outlined in the Drug Program will result in the appropriate resolution of this matter. In the meantime, the Yankees remain focused on playing baseball.
“However, we are compelled to address certain reckless and false allegations concerning the Yankees’ role in this matter. The New York Yankees in no way instituted and/or assisted MLB in the direction of this investigation; or used the investigation as an attempt to avoid its responsibilities under a player contract; or did its medical staff fail to provide the appropriate standard of care to Alex Rodriguez.”
The New York Yankees slugger admitted four years ago that he used performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas from 2001-03 but has repeatedly denied using them since.