Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez was suspended to the end of next year’s season and three other All-Stars were also handed bans as 13 players were punished by Major League Baseball on Monday for their role in a doping scandal which has rocked the sport.
Rodriguez, the game’s highest-paid player and a three-time league MVP, remained defiant and appealed the decision, allowing him to play for the New York Yankees for the first time this season on Monday as he makes his comeback from a long-term hip injury.
Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were the All-Stars given 50-game bans for their relationship to Biogenesis of America, a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Rodriguez confirmed he would appeal his suspension, which covers 211 games, by tomorrow’s deadline. Since the arbitrator is not expected to rule until November or December at the earliest, Rodriguez will likely be able to play the rest of this year.
He received a hostile reception from Chicago fans in Monday’s game against the White Sox, being relentlessly booed and jeered, while being subject to chants of “Steroids! Steroids!”
“The last seven months has been a nightmare — has been probably the worst time of my life for sure,” Rodriguez said.
The other 12 players agreed to their 50-game penalties before the punishments were announced, giving them a chance to return in time for the playoffs.
MLB said Rodriguez’s drug penalty was for “his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone over the course of multiple years.”
His punishment under the labor contract was “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 suspensions are thought to be the most at once for off-field conduct since 1921, when eight Chicago White Sox players were banned for life for taking bribes to throw the 1919 World Series.