Alex Rodriguez will have a one-of-a-kind day on Monday. He received a lengthy suspension from baseball and then will head to the ballpark to play for the New York Yankees for the first time this season.
A-Rod’s suspension, through the 2014 season (pending appeal), was announced as part of Major League Baseball’s latest drug investigation, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press.
Major League Baseball informed the Yankees on Sunday that A-Rod will be suspended for his links to a clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statement was authorized.
But the person also said A-Rod will be eligible to play while he appeals the penalty to an arbitrator.
The Yankees star could get a shorter penalty if he agrees to give up the right to file a grievance and force the case before an arbitrator, the person added.
A suspension from Monday through 2014 would total 211 games, and an unsuccessful appeal could stretch serving the penalty into 2015.
In the era before players and owners agreed to a drug plan in late 2002, arbitrators often shortened drug suspensions – in the case of Yankees pitcher Steve Howe, his penalty was cut from a lifetime ban to 119 days.
Rodriguez is the most famous player linked to the now-closed Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic in Florida, and the Yankees expect him to be charged with interfering with MLB’s investigation, resulting in a harsher penalty than the other 13 players facing discipline.
Barring an agreement, Rodriguez’s appeal would be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.
Adding to the drama: The 38-year-old Rodriguez, a three-time AL MVP, was due to rejoin the Yankees for their series opener at the Chicago White Sox, his first big league appearance since last October’s playoffs.
He’s been rehabbing since hip surgery in January.