UPDATE: 3:40 PM EST
Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig released this official statement regarding Alex Rodriguez’s 211 game suspension without pay and the discipline issued to players in relation to Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis investigation:
“Major League Baseball has worked diligently with the Players Association for more than a decade to make our Joint Drug Program the best in all of professional sports. I am proud of the comprehensive nature of our efforts – not only with regard to random testing, groundbreaking blood testing for human Growth Hormone and one of the most significant longitudinal profiling programs in the world, but also our investigative capabilities, which proved vital to the Biogenesis case. Upon learning that players were linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we vigorously pursued evidence that linked those individuals to violations of our Program. We conducted a thorough, aggressive investigation guided by facts so that we could justly enforce our rules.
“Despite the challenges this situation has created during a great season on the field, we pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do. For weeks, I have noted the many players throughout the game who have strongly voiced their support on this issue, and I thank them for it. I appreciate the unwavering support of our owners and club personnel, who share my ardent desire to address this situation appropriately. I am also grateful to the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and our club physicians, who were instrumental in the banning of amphetamines and whose expertise remains invaluable to me. As an institution, we have made unprecedented strides together.
“It is important to point out that 16,000 total urine and blood tests were conducted on players worldwide under MLB Drug Programs in 2012. With the important additions of the hGH testing and longitudinal profiling this season, we are more confident than ever in the effectiveness of the testing program. Those players who have violated the Program have created scrutiny for the vast majority of our players, who play the game the right way.”
To read the rest of the statement, click here.
Sources close to A-Rod say that the third baseman plans to file an immediate appeal.
According to USA Today:
Rodriguez will be suspended for at least 214 games under terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, costing him about $34 million, but likely will avoid a lifetime ban by Commissioner Bud Selig for allegedly violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The penalty would make Rodriguez ineligible to play until the 2015 regular season, the biggest punishment against a player or manager since Pete Rose agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989 for gambling.
Rodriguez, 38, plans to file an appeal that will be heard within three weeks by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. Selig could invoke his powers as commissioner to keep Rodriguez from playing until the appeal is heard, but that could prompt Rodriguez to file a lawsuit against the league and the players union to submit a grievance.
A-Rod’s suspension will become official at 3:00 PM EST.
Earlier today, 12 other players accepted drug suspensions from baseball, including New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and outfielder Fernando Martinez; Philadelphia pitcher Antonio Bastardo; Seattle catcher Jesus Montero; New York Mets infielder Jordany Valdespin and outfielder Cesar Puello; Houston pitcher Sergio Escalona; San Diego pitcher Fautino De Los Santos; and free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto.
SOURCE: USA Today