Alex Rodriguez's appeal of the 211-game suspension levied by Major League Baseball will begin its preliminary phase this week with a status conference scheduled to take place between MLB officials, Rodriguez's legal team and arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, a person familiar with the meeting said Saturday.
Rodriguez was suspended in connection with MLB's probe of performance-enhancing drugs distributed by the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic.
The gathering, which is expected to be held Wednesday at an undisclosed location, the source said, will center on issues relating to discovery and the setting of dates for the actual hearing. The source said the hearing is not expected to take place until after the baseball season, perhaps not until November or December.
A spokesman for MLB said on Saturday that there would be no comment on arbitration dates. Rodriguez is expected to appear before the arbitrator at some point during the process.
Rodriguez, who returned to action Aug. 5 after rehabbing his surgically repaired left hip -- the day the suspension was announced -- will be permitted to play until the arbitrator makes his ruling. Horowitz could uphold the suspension, overturn it or reduce the number of games he has to sit out.