Tribune wire reports
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the entire 2014 season by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz on Saturday, stemming from the Biogenesis scandal.
Horowitz notified both MLB and the Players Association that Rodriguez "will be suspended for a period that includes 162 regular season games in the 2014 regular season as well as the entire 2014 post season," the league said in a statement.
The ruling upholds most of Major League Baseball's original ban of 211 games. The arbitrator's decision comes after Rodriguez appealed the suspension and played the final two months of the 2013 season.
"While we believe the original 211-game suspension was appropriate, we respect the decision rendered by the panel and will focus on our continuing efforts on eliminating performance-enhancing substances from our game.""For more than five decades, the arbitration process under the Basic Agreement has been a fair and effective mechanism for resolving disputes and protecting player rights," Major League Baseball said in a statement.
Rodriguez was among 13 players suspended after MLB investigated Biogenesis, the former South Florida anti-aging clinic that was linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Ryan Braunreceived the second-longest ban of 65 games, which he served. The other players were banned 50 games.
Rodriguez announced on his Facebook page that he will contest Saturday's decision in federal court.
"The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one," Rodriguez said in the statement. "This is one man's decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable.
"This injustice is MLB's first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review."
Rodriguez repeated his claim that he has not taken any PEDs while playing for the Yankees since 2009.
"I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court," he said. "I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension.
"No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players' contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.
"I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal."