Major League Baseball has suspended Alex Rodriguez through the end of the 2014 season for violating baseball's Joint Drug Agreement. A-Rod's suspension is the longest non-lifetime ban in baseball history and by far the longest ever handed down under the JDA, which specifies a 50-game ban for a first-time offender, 100 games for a second offense and a lifetime ban for a third positive test. A-Rod admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-2003 while with the Texas Rangers and failed a supposedly anonymous survey test in '03 but has not failed a test since punishments were first instituted in 2004. His 211-game suspension is due to Commissioner's Bud Selig's ability to levy punishments for non-analytic positives. MLB reportedly has evidence of Rodriguez using PEDs from 2010-2012 and he is also alleged to have directed other players to Biogenesis and to have attempted to obtain and destroy evidence from the clinic.
2 of 9David E. Klutho/SI
Ryan Braun - 65 games
Braun became the first player punished as a result of MLB's investigation into Biogenesis of America, a now-closed anti-aging clinic. Braun, the 2011 NL MVP and five-time All-Star, accepted a penalty 15 games longer than the one he avoided last year when an arbitrator overturned his positive test for elevated testosterone because the urine sample had been improperly handled. Braun was hitting .298/.372/.498 with 9 homers and 38 RBI through 61 games this season. He had already missed a month with an injured right thumb, going on the DL for the first time in his career.
3 of 9Elise Amendola/AP
Nelson Cruz - 50 games
A 32-year-old two-time All-Star (including this year), Cruz has been the Rangers' regular rightfielder since 2009, hitting a combined .272/.332/.512 and averaging 27 homers per year, including this one. He missed considerable time in 2010-2011 due to recurrent injuries to his left hamstring, but has proven durable since then, and is hitting .269/.330/.511 with 27 homers for a Rangers team that can ill afford to lose him.
4 of 9Paul Sancya/AP
Jhonny Peralta - 50 games
A 31-year-old two-time All-Star, Peralta has been one of the game's better offensive shortstops since 2005, and one of the most durable, averaging 149 games per year between 2005-2012. In fact, what sets him apart from virtually everybody else in this group is that he's never been on the disabled list as a major leaguer. Even so, he's been wildly inconsistent from year to year. This has been one of his best seasons, batting .305/.360/.461 with 11 homers.
5 of 9Harry How/Getty Images
Everth Cabrera - 50 games
A Rule 5 pick plucked off the Rockies' roster in December 2008, Cabrera served as the Padres' regular shortstop in 2009, then bounced back and forth between the majors and minors before reemerging last year. Though he hit just .246/.324/.324 in 115 games, he led the NL with 44 steals in 48 attempts. In February, he was among the third wave of players named by ESPN's <italics>Outside the Lines</italics> in late February, but played well enough to make the NL All-Star team and has hit .283/.355/.381 with a league-high 37 steals in 49 attempts thus far.
6 of 9Tom Mihalek/Icon SMI
Antonio Bastardo - 50 games
A 27-year-old left-handed reliever, Bastardo has pitched for parts of five seasons with the Phillies and become the team's top setup reliever in front of closer Jonathan Papelbon. After pitching in 64 games in 2011 and 65 in 2012, he has made a team-high 48 appearances this year, pitching to a 2.32 ERA and striking out 9.9 per nine in 42 2/3 innings. Prior to Monday, he had not been publicly linked with Biogenesis.
7 of 9Dave Tulis/AP
Jordany Valdespin - 50 games
A 26-year-old Dominican utilityman who has spent parts of the past two seasons with the Mets, Valdespin is no stranger to controversy. He has been suspended for insubordination multiple times in both the minors and in winter ball. Back in May, after showboating following a home run off the Pirates' Jose Contreras in a blowout loss, he was promptly drilled by Pittsburgh's Bryan Morris in a pinch-hitting appearance the next day. On July 14, he was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas, having hit just .188/.250/.316 in 144 plate appearances; upon receiving the news, he caused a commotion in the Mets' clubhouse. Earlier this week, he was suspended three games for his part in a bench-clearing brawl triggered by another excessive home run celebration and retaliatory plunking. The bet here is that he's played his last game in the Mets organization.
8 of 9Kathy Willens/AP
Francisco Cervelli - 50 games
Cervelli saw considerable time for the Yankees from 2009 through 2011, making 80 starts during the middle year, but poor defense forced him to the minors last year, and he played in just three games with the Yankees. Cervelli began the year sharing catching duties with Chris Stewart and hit .269/.377/.500 in 61 PA while showing off improved form behind the plate. Alas, a foul tip fractured his right hand in late April and required surgery, and between a stress reaction in his elbow and ongoing pain in his right middle finger (the one most affected by the break), he has yet to return to action, to the point that his season was already in jeopardy.
9 of 9Rod Mar/SI
Jesus Montero - 50 games
Once considered among the game's brightest prospects ? he made <italics>Baseball America</italics>'s list four times from 2009-2012, ranking between third and sixth in the last three of those years ? Montero has taken a sizable fall since being dealt by the Yankees to the Mariners in January 2012. He hit just .260/.298/.386 with 15 homers as a rookie last year. Between his struggles behind the plate and his slow start this year (.208/.264/.327 in 29 games), he was demoted to Triple-A Tacoma in late May to begin a transition to first base. Alas, after just one week, he tore a meniscus in his left knee, and underwent surgery, sidelining him until July 5. Hitting just .247/.317/.425 in 19 games at Tacoma, he didn't appear near a return to the majors.
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