Don't expect to see Alex Rodriguez in the New York Yankees' batting lineup anytime soon.
The third baseman, 38, has been suspended from Major League Baseball for one season due to his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs, The New York Times reports.
Originally set to be 211 games, Rodriguez's suspension has been reduced to 162 games. However, he will not be allowed to compete in the 2014 playoffs should the Yankees qualify. It is the largest performance-enhancing drug-related suspension in MLB history.
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In a statement released Saturday, Rodriguez said he planned to appeal Saturday's decision. "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."
Rodriguez has maintained his innocence since he was first suspended in early August. Although Rodriguez was one of 13 players linked to a Florida clinic, Biogenesis, said to be distributing performance-enhancing drugs, Rodriguez was the only player to file an appeal against the charges. The other 12 players accepted reduced sentences of 50 games. Rodriguez was also suspended for additional games for interfering with MLB's investigation. Rodriguez is alleged to have used these drugs for a period of time from 2009-2012. Early in 2009, he admitted to having used banned substances from 2001-2003 while he was playing for the Texas Rangers.
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Things were heated during Rodriguez's appeal hearing, which started the day after the 2013 season ended, particularly when Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig was not required to testify. Rodriguez subsequently stormed out of arbitration, and said Selig "hates my guts" in an interview. He was absent for the remainder of the hearing.
In his statement Saturday, Rodriguez also blasted the proceedings. "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," he said.
There is also speculation that because of Rodriguez's age and his declining performance in recent years, this suspension may mark the end of his career. The Yankees could possibly try to buy out the rest of his contract, which stands to pay him $61 million from 2015-2017.
Do you agree with Rodriguez's suspension?