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.