MLB plans to proceed with A-Rod ban
The Alex Rodriguez saga has taken another turn.
Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees have rejected meetings with Alex Rodriguez's camp, a major league source confirmed.
The news was first reported by the New York Post's Joel Sherman and the New York Daily News.
Barring any last-minute change, MLB plans to suspend Rodriguez, 38, for at least this season and next, based on findings in its investigation of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.
Following a Double-A rehab start for the Trenton Thunder in New Jersey on Friday, A-Rod made some controversial remarks about the Yankees and the investigation at a postgame press conference.
"I think we all agree that we want to get rid of PEDs," Rodriguez said. "That's a must. I think all the players feel that way. But when all the stuff is going on in the background, and people are finding creative ways to cancel your contract and stuff like that, that's concerning for me, that's concerning for present, and that's concerning for future players as well.
"I will say this: there is more than one party that benefits from me not ever stepping back on the field. That's not my teammates and that's not the Yankee fans."
When a reporter asked who those parties were, Rodriguez replied, "I can't tell you that right now and I hope I never have to."
The embattled third baseman has told friends he will appeal and “fight to the end.”
The Biogenesis clinic and its founder, Anthony Bosch, are alleged to have provided performance-enhancing drugs to major league players, as well as athletes in other sports.
As many as 20 additional players could be disciplined by MLB, including several players whose teams are in postseason contention. That includes Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz, Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta and Oakland Athletics right-hander Bartolo Colon.
Among the other major leaguers who have been linked to the Biogenesis scandal: Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera, San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera and catcher Yasmani Grandal, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero (currently at Triple-A).
Two other minor leaguers (Cesar Puello and Fernando Martinez) and two free agents (Jordan Norberto and Fautino De Los Santos) also are among those with alleged Biogenesis ties.
Melky Cabrera, Colon and Grandal all tested for positive for PEDs during the 2012 season and have served 50-game suspensions, increasing the likelihood that they will avoid further discipline.
The players facing suspensions have until 6 p.m. ET on Sunday to notify MLB about whether they will accept or appeal their suspensions, according to the Post report.
If the suspensions indeed were to begin Monday, those receiving a 50-game ban would be eligible to return in the postseason and/or begin the 2014 season with a clean slate. By Monday morning, each team, except the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies, will have at least 50 games remaining on its regular season schedule. No players from the Red Sox or Rockies have been publicly linked to Biogenesis.
First-time offenders of the Joint Drug Prevention And Treatment Program who choose to appeal can continue to play during the appeal process. Those who appeal will state their cases before an arbitrator.
Although A-Rod admitted in 2009 that he used PEDs from 2001-03 while with the Texas Rangers, he would be a first-time offender because he never has tested positive.
But MLB and Commissioner Bud Selig could use the collective bargaining agreement's “best interests of baseball” clause against A-Rod, preventing him from playing during any appeal.
Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan speculated on Twitter that with 24 hours to go before the suspension deadline MLB set, that A-Rod could be offered one last chance to accept the suspension the league has offered him. That possibility cannot be ruled out.
Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun already has agreed to a 65-game suspension that will sideline him the rest of this season.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)