Alex Rodriguez could be back with the Yankees next week, or, perhaps, never again. (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Major League Baseball expects to announce disciplinary action Monday for players connected to the Biogenesis scandal, including Alex Rodriguez, though baseball officials are unsure whether the New York Yankees third baseman will reach a last-minute settlement or file an appeal.
Baseball intends to announce two sets of discipline: one for players who have accepted discipline and another for any players who have not reached a settlement, according to a source familiar with baseball’s plans. Rodriguez’s disciplinary case, however, remains fluid, with little direct communication between Rodriguez’s camp and MLB. Rodriguez’s lawyers have been working through the players association.
MLB has not finalized a decision on whether to discipline Rodriguez under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which would keep him off the field during an appeal process, or the Joint Drug Agreement, which would allow him to be in the Yankees’ lineup Monday night in Chicago against the White Sox.
MLB established Monday as a self-imposed deadline so as not to have 50-game suspensions carry into the postseason or 2014 season. As many as eight players are expected to receive 50-game bans as first-time violators of the JDA, including Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta. Texas is scheduled to play its 113th game of the season Monday night. If a 50-game suspension for Cruz began after Monday, it would carry into postseason play if the team qualifies or the 2014 season if it does not.
Rodriguez is facing a much longer ban -- from as many as 150 games to a lifetime ban -- because of what baseball considers multiple violations of the JDA and possibly the CBA in regard to his connection to Biogenesis, the Miami “wellness” clinic. Because any ban for Rodriguez is expected to carry past the 2013 season, MLB does not regard the time element as being nearly as important for his case, so it could decide to defer an announcement on Rodriguez past Monday, depending on developments this weekend.
Rodriguez is said to still be weighing his options and is not as close to a resolution of his case as are the eight players looking at a 50-game ban. If Rodriguez does cut a deal with MLB before Monday night, he is expected to begin serving his suspension immediately and not return to uniform for the Yankees this year and possibly next – if at all thereafter. He turns 40 in 2015. If he decides to fight, Rodriguez could be in the Yankees’ lineup Monday, assuming he remains healthy through minor league rehab games Friday and Saturday.
Rodriguez, 38, has not played in the major leagues since last postseason, when he managed only three hits in 25 at-bats (.120).