MLB Drug Investigation: Quick Q&A

In question-and-answer form, a look at the issues and
implications of Major League Baseball’s suspensions Monday
resulting from its investigation of the Biogenesis anti-aging
clinic, accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing
drugs:

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Q: What happened to Alex Rodriguez?

A: New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was suspended
for 211 games starting Thursday through the end of the 2014 season
for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program
and the Basic Agreement – the sport’s labor contract. Major League
Baseball said the drug suspension was 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
collective bargaining agreement 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.”

Q: What is the next step?

A: Rodriguez will authorize a grievance to be filed, probably on
Wednesday. As a first offender under the drug program, that means
his discipline will be stayed pending a hearing and decision by
arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.

Q: When will the hearing take place?

A: It could start this month or be delayed until September or
later as lawyers for MLB and for Rodriguez and the Major League
Baseball Players Association prepare. Union head Michael Weiner
said he didn’t expect a decision until November at the
earliest.

Q: Why did Rodriguez make his major league season debut just
hours after the suspension was announced?

A: The 38-year-old Rodriguez, recovering from hip surgery in
January, appeared set to rejoin the Yankees last month until an MRI
on July 21 revealed a strained quadriceps. While Rodriguez pushed
to be activated, New York delayed and made him play in a pair of
injury rehabilitation games at Double-A Trenton last weekend. When
he joined the Yankees for Monday night’s game at the Chicago White
Sox, he went 1 for 4 with a single in his first major league action
since his 3-for-25 performance during last year’s playoffs.

Q: How much will the suspension cost Rodriguez?

A: The exact amount isn’t known because it is not clear how many
games of the suspension he will serve in each season. Rodriguez
earns a major league-high $28 million this year, $25 million in
2014 and $21 million in 2015, which could be the final year of the
penalty. If 49 games are served at the 2013 rate, total lost pay
would be $32,749,268. If 49 games are served at the 2015 rate,
total lost pay would be $30,562,951.

Q: Who else was penalized Monday?

A: Twelve players agreed to accept 50-game suspensions from
Major League Baseball: Philadelphia left-handed pitcher Antonio
Bastardo, San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera, New York Yankees
catcher Francisco Cervelli, Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, San Diego
right-handed pitcher Fautino De Los Santos (on the roster of San
Antonio in the Double-A Texas League), Houston left-hander Sergio
Escalona (on the roster of Corpus Christi in the Texas League),
Yankees outfielder Fernando Martinez (on the roster of
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the Triple-A International League),
Seattle catcher Jesus Montero (on option to Tacoma in the Triple-A
Pacific Coast League), free agent left-handed pitcher Jordan
Norberto, Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta, New York Mets
outfielder Cesar Puello (on option to Binghamton in the Double-A
Eastern League) and Mets utilityman Jordany Valdespin (on option to
Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League). Cabrera, Cruz and Peralta
were All-Stars this year.

Q: What was the total number of players disciplined in the
Biogenesis investigation?

A: Eighteen in all. Toronto outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland
right-handed pitcher Bartolo Colon and San Diego catcher Yasmani
Grandal previously served 50-game suspensions for positive tests
for testosterone in 2012. Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun agreed
July 22 to accept a 65-game suspension. Detroit right-handed
pitcher Cesar Carrillo was suspended for 100 games on March 10 this
year for violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and
Treatment Program, then was released on July 25.

Q: Were any players cleared among the group linked to Biogenesis
in media reports?

A: Yes. MLB said it found no violations of the drug program by
Washington left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez and Baltimore infielder
Danny Valencia.

Q: Previously, what was the longest suspension for PEDs under
the major league drug program?

A: San Francisco pitcher Guillermo Mota was suspended for 100
games in May 2012 for a positive test for Clenbuterol, his second
violation. He had been suspended for 50 games in November 2006.

Q: Will Rodriguez’s AL Most Valuable Player awards from 2003,
2005 and 2007 be taken away?

A: No. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America says its
voting is final when it is conducted and will not be revisited.
Carlos Delgado finished second in 2003, David Ortiz in 2005 and
Magglio Ordonez in 2007.