The waiting game: MLB poised to suspend Alex Rodriguez, but when, and for how long?
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Alex Rodriguez and others are about to learn their fate in the Biogenesis probe. With multiple reports Wednesday saying the union has been informed of player suspensions, Major League Baseball is likely to announce the names of those to be disciplined by the end of this week.
The Associated Press reported that MLB has told the union which players it intends to suspend and which ones will receive lengthier penalties. It also stated that the sides are trying to reach as many agreements as possible that would avoid grievance hearings and talks could push back an announcement until Friday.
According to a Yahoo! Report, an estimated 12 players are expected to agree to suspensions -- Rodriguez not being one of them -- offered by the league within the next 72 hours. The Players Association confirmed the meeting took place, though it provided no details.
Rodriguez's situation may have grown more precarious with reports surfacing that MLB was considering disciplining Rodriguez under the collective bargaining agreement, citing Article XII of the Basic Agreement, which gives commissioner Bud Selig the jurisdiction in determining punishment.
The clause states, "Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball, including but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law."
If Selig decided to suspend Rodriguez under the clause, which could include a lifetime ban, Rodriguez still could appeal the decision but would not be permitted to play during the grievance process. Rodriguez still could agree to a last-minute deal that may make any penalty less severe.
Under the joint drug agreement instituted in November 2005, MLB and the Players Association set penalties of 50 games for a first offense, 100 for a second and lifetime ban for a third. Rodriguez never has been suspended for a drug offense.
David Cornwell, the Atlanta-based attorney representing Rodriguez, said during an interview on ESPN New York Radio Monday that he has not been approached about a plea arrangement and was preparing for an appeal if MLB decided to discipline Rodriguez. A source indicated Tuesday that Cornwell's position has not changed. It is believed both parties have communicated with each other during the last several weeks.
Rodriguez and other players have been linked to MLB's investigation into Biogenesis, the now-shuttered anti-aging clinic in Miami where players allegedly received performance-enhancing drugs. Ryan Braun of the Brewers was the first player disciplined, receiving a season-ending 65-game suspension for what MLB termed "violations of the joint drug agreement and Basic Agreement."
A source said Braun's willingness to cut a deal with MLB precluded Selig from handing out a harsher penalty. The Associated Press reported Monday that Braun was suspended 50 games for his connection to Biogenesis and 15 additional games because of his actions during the grievance for a positive test for elevated levels of testosterone, which was ultimately overturned by an arbitrator in February 2012.
In Rodriguez's case, The Associated Press also reported that the Yankees anticipate Rodriguez being investigated for recruiting other athletes to the Biogenesis clinic, attempting to obstruct MLB's investigation, and of 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.
Rodriguez has been rehabbing from offseason hip surgery and, more recently, a grade 1 quadriceps strain. Rodriguez is at the Yankees' minor-league facility on a mutually agreed upon five-day rehab program that ends Thursday. Rodriguez arrived at the facility shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday but wasn't spotted in a batting cage until after 11. He didn't leave until around 2:40 p.m., declining to stop and speak with reporters.
His on-field workout consisted of some live batting practice, long toss and infield work at third base, where he fielded 25 to 30 grounders. He followed with several 60-yard wind sprints and some lateral sliding drills in rightfield. At no point did Rodriguez appear to favor his left quad.
Before returning inside the complex, he stopped for photos with several Astros minor-leaguers in Tampa for a Gulf Coast League game.
After completing his five-day rehab stint, Rodriguez could then play in a simulated game or begin another rehab assignment.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in Los Angeles Tuesday that the plan was still for Rodriguez to play "a game somewhere" Thursday, whether it be a simulated game or minor-league game.
Said Girardi: "If we didn't think he was going to be with us, we wouldn't do those things."
With Erik Boland
in Los Angeles,
David Lennon in New York and Joey Knight in Tampa