Major League Baseball brought down the hammer on Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun for performance-enhancing drug use in July, and it was only a matter of time before fellow players suffered the same fate.
MLB Public Relations announced Monday that Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for 211 games along with 12 other players for 50-game bans apiece for their roles in the Biogenesis PED scandal that also brought down Braun.
UPDATE: Saturday, Aug. 10, at 8:50 a.m ET by Sam Westmoreland
From ESPN's Pedro Gomez:
Heard from a pair of reliable sources that it's highly unlikely Nelson Cruz (Rangers) and Jhonny Peralta (Tigers) appear in the postseason.— Pedro Gomez (@pedrogomezESPN) August 10, 2013
---End of Update---
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal first reported earlier Monday that 12 MLB players implicated in the Biogenesis case have accepted 50-game suspensions:
Here is the full list of players reportedly suspended, courtesy of Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk:
|Antonio Bastardo||Philadelphia Phillies|
|Cesar Puello||New York Mets|
|Everth Cabrera||San Diego Padres|
|Fautino De Los Santos||San Diego Padres|
|Fernando Martinez||New York Yankees|
|Francisco Cervelli||New York Yankees|
|Jesus Montero||Seattle Mariners|
|Jhonny Peralta||Detroit Tigers|
|Jordan Norberto||Free Agent|
|Jordany Valdespin||New York Mets|
|Nelson Cruz||Texas Rangers|
|Sergio Escalona||Houston Astros|
UPDATE: Monday, Aug. 5, at 3:55 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
From the New York Post's Joel Sherman:
in no way instituted and/or assisted MLB in the direction of this investigation; or used the investigation (cont)— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 5, 2013
as an attempt to avoid its responsibilities under a player contract; or did its medical staff fail to provide the appropriate (cont)— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 5, 2013
standard of care to Alex Rodriguez." #Yankees— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) August 5, 2013
---End of update---
UPDATE: Monday, Aug. 5, at 3:50 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
From MLB Players Association:
'The accepted suspensions announced today are consistent with the punishments set forth in the Joint Drug Agreement, and were arrived at only after hours of intense negotiations between the bargaining parties, the players and their representatives.
For the player appealing, Alex Rodriguez, we agree with his decision to fight his suspension. We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously.'
---End of update---
UPDATE: Monday, Aug. 5, at 3:03 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
MLB Public Relations announced that Alex Rodriguez was suspended 211 games for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal:
Alex Rodriguez of New York Yankees suspended 211 Regular Season Games through 2014 season. ...
Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that third baseman Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has been suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2013 Championship Season and Postseason and the entire 2014 Championship Season for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and the Basic Agreement.
MLB Public Relations provided insight into the decision behind Rodriguez's suspension:
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 Public Relations confirmed the previous reported suspensions:
MLB issued the following discipline today for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention & Treatment Program in relation to the Biogenesis investigation. Players receiving 50-game suspensions without pay for their violations of the Program are:
• Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo;
• San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera;
• New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli;
• Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz;
• Padres pitcher Fautino De Los Santos, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A San Antonio Missions of the Texas League;
• Houston Astros pitcher Sergio Escalona, who is currently of the roster of the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks of the Texas League;
• Yankees outfielder Fernando Martinez, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the International League;
• Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League;
• Free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto;
• Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta;
• New York Mets outfielder Cesar Puello, who is currently on the roster of the Double-A Binghamton Mets of the Eastern League; and
• Mets infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin, who is currently on the roster of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League.
MLB Public Relations also shed light on the rest of the players involved:
Norberto’s suspension will be effective immediately once he signs with another Major League organization. All other suspensions are effective immediately. None of the players will appeal their discipline.
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, all of whom already have served 50-game suspensions as a result of their violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program stemming from their connections to Biogenesis, will not receive additional discipline.
Major League Baseball’s investigation found no violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by either Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez or Baltimore Orioles infielder Danny Valencia.
From ESPN's Jerry Crasnick:
Bud Selig on Biogenesis: "We pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do.''— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) August 5, 2013
More Selig: “This case resoundingly illustrates that the strength of our Program is not limited only to testing.'' #biogenesis— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) August 5, 2013
From Nelson Cruz, courtesy of ESPN Dallas:
I have been notified by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball that I have been suspended for 50 games for violation of the Joint Drug Agreement. I have decided to accept this suspension and not exercise my rights under the Basic Agreement to appeal. From November, 2011 to January, 2012, I was seriously ill with a gastrointestinal infection, helicobacter pylori, which went undiagnosed for over a month. By the time I was properly diagnosed and treated, I had lost 40 pounds. Just weeks before I was to report to spring training in 2012, I was unsure whether I would be physically able to play. Faced with this situation, I made an error in judgment that I deeply regret, and I accept full responsibility for that error. I should have handled the situation differently, and my illness was no excuse. I am thankful for the unwavering support of my family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time. I look forward to regaining the trust and respect of the Rangers organization, my teammates, and the great Rangers’ fans, and I am grateful for the opportunity to rejoin the team for the playoffs.
---End of update---
Per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, there were players who avoided any additional discipline from the scandal:
While players like Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta headline the above list, there's no doubt this is a huge day for MLB. Now, the focus will turn to Alex Rodriguez.
No suspension for A-Rod—one of the major figures in the Biogenesis scandal—has been announced as of yet.
In June, CBS Sports’ Dayn Perry reported that Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch was prepared to implicate both Braun and Rodriguez in the PED scandal. It took some time for the situation to develop, but it seems Rodriguez won’t avoid punishment for his involvement, either, as he continues to fight the league against any possible ban.
Joel Sherman and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post first reported that MLB planned to announce suspensions for all players at one time. According to their report, the league chose to hand down Braun's suspension early due to his "willingness to accept the penalty without appeal."
MLB apparently is willing to give the same sanction to first-time offenders in this case, in which the evidence does not come from a failed urine or blood exam, but rather from an investigation. The thinking is MLB wants to provide the first-time offenders this carrot: Don’t appeal and you can serve the entire suspension this year and start with a clean slate for next season.
Following Braun’s suspension, Passan foreshadowed what will ultimately happen to Rodriguez, highlighting the severity of Major League Baseball’s firm grip on those who violated its PED policies:
Braun suspension of 65 games sets a baseline for coming A-Rod suspension. And one source expects A-Rod's to be even longer.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 22, 2013
While a suspension would give Rodriguez’s legacy another blow, he hasn’t exactly been a productive member of the Yankees recently. The 38-year-old has been recovering from hip surgery since January and didn’t begin a minor league rehab assignment until July.
Yankees hurler Andy Pettitte admitted in 2007 to using HGH in 2002 and 2004 and understands what Rodriguez is going through. As quoted by Chad Jennings of USA Today, Pettitte promised to offer the third baseman his support, regardless of what Major League Baseball ultimately decided:
We're going to back (Rodriguez) up. We're his teammates. There's no doubt. But if he did something wrong, you have to be punished for it. But I'll still back him up. I'm still going to love him because I built the relationship with him. He's a teammate of mine. You just wish nothing but the best for him.
Rodriguez’s last several years in New York have been tumultuous. After hitting 30 home runs and tallying 125 RBI in 2010, A-Rod played in just 221 games in 2011 and 2012 combined, hitting just 34 home runs in that span.
Those issues continued into the 2013 season, and many have been left to wonder if Rodriguez will ever be the player he once was.
Rodriguez signed a 10-year, $275 million contract with the Yankees in 2007, and he is still due a sizable portion of that money when he returns from suspension.