Unlike the other 12 players who accepted 50-game bans earlier Monday, Rodriguez has vowed to fight his suspension. In announcing the suspension, baseball accuses Rodriguez of using performance-enhancing drugs, including testosterone and human-growth hormone over multiple seasons and also of trying to cover up his actions.
Below is the full release from Major League Baseball.
Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig announced today that third baseman Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has been suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2013 Championship Season and Postseason and the entire 2014 Championship Season for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and the Basic Agreement.
Rodriguez's discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is 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 Basic Agreement is 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. The suspension, which will become effective on Thursday, August 8th, will cover 211 Championship Season games and any 2013 Postseason games in which Rodriguez otherwise would have been eligible to play.
Under the terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, Rodriguez's suspension will be stayed until the completion of his appeal if Rodriguez files a grievance challenging his discipline.
Rodriguez is in the lineup for the New York Yankees tonight batting cleanup, as his appeal is pending. It will be the 38-year-old third baseman's first game of the season after recovering from off-season hip surgery and a quad strain.
Before the game, Rodriguez released a statement, saying "I am disappointed with the penalty and intend to appeal and fight this through the process. I am eager to get back on the field and be with my teammates in Chicago tonight. I want to thank my family, friends and fans who have stood by my side though all this."
Players' Union chief Michael Weiner said that the Union supports A-Rod's appeal and that he believes Commissioner Bud Selig overstepped his bounds.
"We agree with his decision to fight his suspension. We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement," Weiner said in a statement.
The Yankees are in desperate need for production from the third base position and right side of the plate, two things A-Rod should be able to help with until his suspension kicks in. His appeal will be heard by an arbiter, and it theoretically could be shortened or extended, depending on the arbiter's decision.
For any game Rodriguez is suspended for, he will not be paid. The Yankees owe Rodriguez nearly $100 million over the next six seasons. It is unclear if Rodriguez would return to baseball if he ended up sitting out almost 2 full seasons.
In a statement, the Yankees denied assisting Major League Baseball in the investigation and also denied trying to get out of A-Rod's contract. Here is their full statement (middle paragraph bolded by me):
What do you think of the A-Rod suspension? Did Baseball over reach? Should he have been banned for life?
We are in full support of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We also recognize and respect the appeals process. Until the process under the Drug Program is complete, we will have no comment. We are confident that the process outlined in the Drug Program will result in the appropriate resolution of this matter. In the meantime, the Yankees remain focused on playing baseball.
However, we are compelled to address certain reckless and false allegations concerning the Yankees' role in this matter. The New York Yankees in no way instituted and/or assisted MLB in the direction of this investigation; or used the investigation as an attempt to avoid its responsibilities under a player contract; or did its medical staff fail to provide the appropriate standard of care to Alex Rodriguez.
Separately, we are disappointed with the news today of the suspension of Francisco Cervelli. It’s clear that he used bad judgment.