Alex Rodriguez is one of about 10 major leaguers who will be suspended, but he is the only one who will be banned beyond this season.
(Photo: Joe Camporeale, USA TODAY Sports)
CHICAGO (USA Today) -- Alex Rodriguez will be suspended through at least the 2014 season in an announcement Monday by Major League Baseball, but the New York Yankees third baseman plans to file an appeal that will enable him to play that evening against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, two people with direct knowledge of the plan told USA TODAY Sports.
Rodriguez is one of about 10 major leaguers who will be suspended, but he is the only one who will be banned beyond this season.
MORE | AP Sources: A-Rod, union reach out to Yankees, MLB
PHOTOS | MLB prepared to ban A-Rod for life
MLB officials have informed Rodriguez's attorneys and the Major League Players Association of the decision to suspend the players, and told Rodriguez he no longer is able to discuss a settlement, according to the two people who were unauthorized to speak publicly before the scheduled announcement.
Rodriguez will be suspended for at least 214 games under terms of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, costing him about $34 million, but likely will avoid a lifetime ban by Commissioner Bud Selig for allegedly violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The penalty would make Rodriguez ineligible to play until the 2015 regular season, the biggest punishment against a player or manager since Pete Rose agreed to a lifetime ban in 1989 for gambling.
Rodriguez, 38, plans to file an appeal that will be heard within three weeks by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. Selig could invoke his powers as commissioner to keep Rodriguez from playing until the appeal is heard, but that could prompt Rodriguez to file a lawsuit against the league and the players union to submit a grievance.
"I hope he throws Rodriguez out for life," former commissioner Fay Vincent told USA TODAY Sports. Vincent was the deputy commissioner when Rose was banned and commissioner from 1989-92.
"There are a lot of similarities between this and Rose. They were very delusional. They lied. They misbehaved," he said.
"Baseball has to stand for things. It just can't have these drugs. If chemists win, baseball is finished. Otherwise, we'd have the Yankees and Red Sox buying up chemistry departments and not caring about who is pitching.
"Baseball really is going to have to ratchet the deterrent, and make it one-and-done, because anybody who says the (drug) testing is working is crazy. It's not working. You use these performance-enhancing drugs just once, you should be banned for life.''
Rodriguez, who admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03 while playing for the Texas Rangers, has denied any involvement with doping since joining the Yankees in 2004.
Rodriguez was scheduled to take a flight Sunday night to Chicago to meet his teammates after playing in two rehab games over the weekend in Trenton, N.J. He is expected to address the news media in Chicago before the game.
"I think all of us are curious what's going to happen" Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It hasn't really occupied my mind like maybe some other things have. I think all of us have known that possibly something could be coming for a lot of different players.
"You deal with it when you have to deal with it. It's kind of like most of the things I've done around here. You deal with it when you have to deal with it."
Rodriguez has not played this season as he has recovered from hip surgery in January. On Friday, he accused MLB and the Yankees of conspiring to prevent him from playing and collecting the remaining $96 million of his $275 million contract. Rodriguez's attorneys reached out to MLB officials and the Yankees on Saturday to seek a settlement, according to three people with knowledge of the talks. Rodriguez was informed MLB declined the overture.
Rodriguez has long insisted he would fight any suspension, saying he was not involved with Biogenesis, the South Florida clinic accused of providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes. His name showed up in various Biogensis documents, as first reported by the Miami New Times in January.
Meanwhile, Girardi downplayed the potential clumsy reunion, and saying Sunday he already has plans to start Rodriguez at third base.
"I don't suspect it'll be awkward," Girardi said. "Most of the guys know him as a teammate and have laughed a lot with Alex and been around Alex a lot. I think it'll be business as usual.
"I'm sure there will be more media there obviously (Monday,) but I think that's more for Alex to deal with than the rest of the guys. I don't think it'll be a big deal."
Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is the only player to accept and start serving a punishment in the Biogenesis investigation, and was suspended two weeks ago for the season's duration. Most of the players punished Monday are expected to accept their suspension, which could be the most levied in MLB history.
"I think Bud ought to take the opportunity to teach what this is all about," Vincent said, "and why this is important for all of sports dealing with drugs. This is about Selig selling the American public on what he's doing, and why it's important that players don't take these drugs.
"It's important that he articulates and explains that baseball is doing this to be protective of the sport. It really is a teaching moment.
"If you don't have rules, you don't have a game."
If Rose had only admitted that he gambled on baseball, Vincent said, Rose's lifetime ban likely would have been lifted, perhaps enabling him to enter the Hall of Fame.
Now, it may be time for Rodriguez to do the same.
"Rodriguez should come clean," Vincent said, "Go to the commissioner, and say, 'How do I help?' If Rodriguez is smart, he would explain to kids why drugs are dangerous. I think this is his great chance to send a terrific message.
"If Rose had thrown himself at our mercy, and begun to reconfigure his life, gone to therapy and realized the issue is all about baseball, it might have been different for him.
"Rodriguez has got to preserve some of his money and whatever tatters he has left of his reputation.
"Maybe, 10 years from now, he'll figure it out. Hopefully, it's not too late."