The Slatest

MLB Suspends A-Rod Until 2015, but He’ll Likely Play For the Yankees Tonight Anyway

Alex Rodriguez’s suspension was widely expected inside the world of Major League Baseball

Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

The A-Rod Suspension Watch is over. Let the A-Rod Appeal Watch Begin! ESPN with the details:

Major League Baseball came down heavy Monday on the players it found to have been involved with the South Florida clinic Biogenesis, suspending Alex Rodriguez through the end of the 2014 season and banning 12 others for 50 games…. 

Rodriguez is expected to appeal the suspension, equivalent to 211 regular-season games, and will be allowed to play until his appeal is heard, sources told ESPN’s T.J. Quinn. The players’ union made a late appeal to MLB for a deal for Rodriguez but was told there would be no more negotiations, sources said.

Saying Rodriguez’s suspension was an open secret before today is an understatement. MLB’s announcement became a foregone conclusion once the league announced last month that it was suspending 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun for the rest of the season for his connection to the same Miami clinic accused of handing out banned PEDs to baseball players and other athletes.

Braun’s 65-game suspension was noteworthy not only for its length but also because the Milwaukee Brewer all-star agreed not to appeal the league’s decision—a rarity in the world of PED suspensions, and a path that Rodriguez has made clear he won”t be taking with his punishment. At the time, MLB officials quietly expressed optimistic that Braun would cause a “domino effect” that lead to similar appeal-free punishment for other PED-using players, a wish that came true in regards to the lesser-known players suspended Monday but not with the the league’s no. 1 public enemy.

There had been speculation that MLB commissioner Bud Selig would look to use—or perhaps create—a loophole that would allow him to keep A-Rod off the field during an appeal, but ultimately that didn’t happen. The decision to suspend him largely under the league’s drug policy means he’ll be free to file a grievance and force the case to go before an arbitrator. As a result, the league’s highest-paid player will likely be on the field for the first time all season tonight when the Yankees open a three-game series against the White Sox in Chicago, and continue to play even after the suspension goes into effect on Thursday. “I’m not going to bring him up to sit him,” Yankees skipper Joe Girardi told reporters before this afternoon’s announcement in reference to Rodriguez’s return to the majors following his rehab stint in Triple-A.

According to USA Today, Rodriguez’s appeal will be heard within 10 days by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who will then have 25 days to render a decision. The last day of the regular season is September 29, so A-Rod could still play in the lion’s share of his team’s remaining games before we learn Horowitz’s final decision.

Meanwhile, according to Fox Sports, those players suspended for 50 games this afternoon were: Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz; Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera; Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta; Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo; Mets outfielder Jordany Valdespin; Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli; Mariners catcher Jesus Montero; Mets outfield prospect Cesar Puello; Houston Astros pitching prospect Sergio Escalona; Yankees outfield prospect Fernando Martinez; free-agent pitcher Fautino De Los Santos; and free-agent pitcher Jordan Norberto.

Few of those are bold-faced names in the world of sports, although at least three of them—Cruz, Peralta, and Cabrera—have all-star appearances on their MLB resumes. Unlike A-Rod, all twelve agreed to accept their punishment without appealing.

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This post has been updated with additional information as it became available.