Major League Baseball suspended the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez through the end of the 2014 season, while 12 other players accepted 50-game suspensions Monday for their dealings with Biogenesis, a shuttered Miami clinic that was a source for illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
Rodriguez, who ranks fifth all time with 647 home runs, was given a lengthy suspension both for alleged violations of baseball's drug agreement and for interfering with MLB's investigation.
Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, both members of playoff-contending teams, were among those accepting 50-game penalties. All of the suspensions are without pay, and the players will begin serving them immediately.
Rodriguez, a three-time American League MVP, is expected to appeal his suspension. He has been out all season with a hip injury but is expected to be added to the Yankees' roster for the series that begins Monday night against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.
An appeal to arbitrator Frederic Horowitz could take two to four weeks.
In a statement, Commissioner Bud Selig said: "As a social institution with enormous social responsibilities, Baseball must do everything it can to maintain integrity, fairness and a level playing field. We are committed to working together with players to reiterate that performance-enhancing drugs will not be tolerated in our game."
Three players not previously linked to Biogenesis - Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Antonio Bastardo, New York Mets utility man Jordany Valdespin and Houston Astros left-hander Sergio Escalano (currently in Double-A) - were among those suspended.
San Diego Padres All-Star shortstop Everth Cabrera was the most significant player suspended besides Rodriguez, Cruz and Peralta. Also suspended, as expected: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli (on the disabled list), Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero (with Triple-A Tacoma), Yankees Triple-A outfielder Fernando Martinez, Mets Double-A outfielder Cesar Puello and free-agent pitchers Fautino de los Santos and Jordan Norberto (Tommy John surgery in June)
Ryan Braun, the 2011 MVP, accepted a season-ending Biogenesis suspension on July 22. Minor-league pitcher Cesar Carrillo was suspended for 100 games in March. He is a former first-round pick of the Padres and was Braun's roommate at the University of Miami. The reason for his suspension was not announced, but he was among the Biogenesis clients named by the Miami New Times in their January expose, which triggered MLB's aggressive investigation.
Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal also were named in the Biogenesis investigations but were not suspended. All three tested positive for banned substances in 2012, and MLB did not discipline them further.
Not counting games he plays during his appeal, Rodriguez will be suspended for 211 games under terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The 38-year-old Rodriguez could return to play in 2015 and earn about $60 million, but it's possible Biogenesis will end his career.
In a statement on the penalties against Rodriguez, MLB issued this explanation:
"Rodriguez's discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his 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 suspension, which will become effective on Thursday, August 8th, will cover 211 Championship Season games and any 2013 Postseason games in which Rodriguez otherwise would have been eligible to play."
MLB built cases against Rodriguez and the others suspended with the cooperation of Anthony Bosch, who ran the Biogenesis clinic out of a Miami shopping area. In addition to testimony from Bosch and others, MLB has obtained numerous documents, including shipping records, and tracked cell phone use to establish connections between players and the clinic.
According to reports, MLB had its investigators purchase some records from former clinic employees after they had been approached by Rodriguez or his reps, who seemingly were attempting to destroy them.
Rodriguez consistently has insisted that the case against him is vindictive and flawed, suggesting that the Yankees are trying to avoid paying him for the remainder of his contract.