Major League Baseball Suspends Alex Rodriguez, Players for PED’s
UPDATE: Alex Rodriguez suspended through 2014, pending appeal; 12 other players take 50-game bans.
Major League Baseball has handed down suspensions to 12 players who have agreed to take the 50 game ban and not appeal. The list of names are as follows:
• Francisco Cervelli, Yankees catcher.
• Cesar Puello, New York Mets outfield prospect.
• Fautino De Los Santos, San Diego Padres pitching prospect.
• Jordan Norberto, free-agent pitcher.
Now Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers had already been suspended for 65 games and accepted that suspension without appealing.
The text of a statement by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig on the league's discipline of 13 players in a sweeping drug investigation:
Major League Baseball has worked diligently with the Players Association for more than a decade to make our Joint Drug Program the best in all of professional sports. I am proud of the comprehensive nature of our efforts - not only with regard to random testing, groundbreaking blood testing for human Growth Hormone and one of the most significant longitudinal profiling programs in the world, but also our investigative capabilities, which proved vital to the Biogenesis case. Upon learning that players were linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we vigorously pursued evidence that linked those individuals to violations of our Program. We conducted a thorough, aggressive investigation guided by facts so that we could justly enforce our rules.
Despite the challenges this situation has created during a great season on the field, we pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do. For weeks, I have noted the many players throughout the game who have strongly voiced their support on this issue, and I thank them for it. I appreciate the unwavering support of our owners and club personnel, who share my ardent desire to address this situation appropriately. I am also grateful to the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and our club physicians, who were instrumental in the banning of amphetamines and whose expertise remains invaluable to me. As an institution, we have made unprecedented strides together.
It is important to point out that 16,000 total urine and blood tests were conducted on players worldwide under MLB Drug Programs in 2012. With the important additions of the hGH testing and longitudinal profiling this season, we are more confident than ever in the effectiveness of the testing program. Those players who have violated the Program have created scrutiny for the vast majority of our players, who play the game the right way.
This case resoundingly illustrates that the strength of our Program is not limited only to testing. We continue to attack this issue on every front - from science and research, to education and awareness, to fact-finding and investigative skills. Major League Baseball is proud of the enormous progress we have made, and we look forward to working with the players to make the penalties for violations of the Drug Program even more stringent and a stronger deterrent.
As a social institution with enormous social responsibilities, Baseball must do everything it can to maintain integrity, fairness and a level playing field. We are committed to working together with players to reiterate that performance-enhancing drugs will not be tolerated in our game.
A thumbnail look at the 13 players suspended by Major League Baseball on Monday in the Biogenesis drug case, along with their salaries lost:
Antonio Bastardo, left-handed pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies, 50 games: At times in his career, the 27-year-old has been a very effective reliever. He is 3-2 with two saves and a 2.32 ERA this season, and the hard thrower averages more than a strikeout per inning. His main problem has been bouts of wildness. Bastardo hadn't previously been linked to the Biogenesis scandal or performance-enhancing drugs. He has pitched for five seasons with the Phillies in several roles. He's done well in the playoffs, not allowing a run in five postseason appearances. Salary lost: $382,514.
Everth Cabrera, shortstop, San Diego Padres, 50 games: A switch-hitter who is one of the top base stealers in the big leagues, Cabrera is making $1,275,000 this season. He was the lone All-Star from the struggling Padres, but didn't get into the game. Cabrera said during spring training that he was "a little surprised" and "disappointed" that his name reportedly was listed in Biogenesis records, but otherwise declined specific comment. He did not say whether he had taken, purchased or received performance-enhancing drugs. He said at the time that he would fully cooperate with MLB. The 26-year-old Cabrera has been with the Padres since reaching the big leagues in 2009. He is hitting .283 and leads the National League with 37 steals. Salary lost: $348,361.
Francisco Cervelli, catcher, New York Yankees, 50 games: On the disabled list since breaking his right hand when it was hit by a foul ball April 26, Cervelli has said he consulted with Biogenesis after a foot injury in 2011 but did not receive any treatment from the facility. He insisted a recommendation to visit the clinic did not come from an agent or another player and that he never spoke with Alex Rodriguez about the clinic. The injury occurred during what was shaping up to be Cervelli's best season as a major leaguer. He was praised for his handling of the pitching staff and was hitting .269 with three homers and eight RBIs in 52 at-bats. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said last week "it's looking more and more like it's going to be unrealistic to see Cervelli" again this season because of finger and elbow pain. Salary lost: $140,806.
Nelson Cruz, right fielder, Texas Rangers, 50 games: The 2011 AL championship series MVP, Cruz had never previously been linked to performance-ending drugs. After his name showed up in the Miami New Times report on Biogenesis of America, attorneys for Cruz issued a statement that read, "To the extent these allegations and inferences refer to Nelson, they are denied." When Cruz reported to spring training in February he said it was "shocking" and "depressing" to see his name connected with Biogenesis. Even with the lingering questions, he became an All-Star for the second time last month. Cruz, who turned 33 on July 1, is eligible for free agency after this season. He signed a $16 million, two-year contract to avoid salary arbitration in February 2012, when the Rangers were fresh off two straight World Series appearances. He leads second-place Texas with 27 homers and 76 RBIs this year. Salary lost: $2,732,240.
Fautino De Los Santos, right-handed pitcher, San Diego Padres, assigned to Double-A San Antonio, 50 games: The 27-year-old was 3-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 34 relief appearances for Oakland in 2011 and didn't have a decision while compiling a 3.00 ERA in six appearances last year, when he spent most of the season in the minors. He was traded to Milwaukee on July 29 last year, then claimed off waivers by San Diego on Feb. 6. Optioned to Triple-A Tucson (PCL), he went 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two relief appearances before he was released on May 15. Salary lost: $1,473.
Sergio Escalona, left-handed pitcher, Houston Astros, assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi, 50 games: Escalona was the winning pitcher in his major league debut, throwing a scoreless inning for Philadelphia in 2009. He made 49 relief appearances for the Astros in 2011, going 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA. Escalona missed the entire 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and returned this year, going 1-2 with a 6.60 ERA in 12 minor league games. Salary lost: $11,700.
Fernando Martinez, outfielder, with Houston Astros at time of violation, now New York Yankees, assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 50 games: The 24-year-old has a .206 batting average, nine homers and 29 RBIs in 99 major league games over five seasons with the New York Mets (2009-11) and Astros (2012-13). Sent outright to the minors in May, he was traded to the Yankees in June for minor league right-hander Charles Basford. Salary lost: $24,642.
Jesus Montero, designated hitter and catcher, Seattle Mariners, on option to Triple-A Tacoma, 50 games: The 23-year-old Montero was acquired by Seattle before the 2012 season in a trade that sent right-hander Michael Pineda to the Yankees. Montero was considered one of the top prospects in baseball after a brief stint with New York at the end of 2011. He got off to a solid start in Seattle last year, hitting .260 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs. The Mariners were hoping he could take over as the team's full-time catcher this season, but that never materialized. After he was linked to Biogenesis in the offseason, Montero was not in the shape the Mariners wanted when he arrived at spring training. He played in 29 games before being demoted to the minors in late May and had barely settled in at Tacoma when he sustained a left knee injury that required surgery. He recently rejoined Tacoma after a short stint in the Arizona Rookie League. Salary lost: $79,820.
Jordan Norberto, left-handed pitcher, Oakland Athletics at time of violation, now free agent, 50 games: The 27-year-old has a 4-3 record with a 4.00 ERA in 78 games with Arizona (2010) and Oakland (2011-12). He started spring training with Oakland and was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento on March 29. He appeared in three games for the River Cats, allowing six runs and walking seven in 1 1-3 innings before being placed on the disabled list April 13 with a strained left elbow. He was released on May 8.
Jhonny Peralta, shortstop, Detroit Tigers, 50 games: The 31-year-old Peralta made his second All-Star team this year, and his absence will make things tougher for the Tigers as they try to outlast Cleveland and win their third straight AL Central title. Detroit acquired infielder Jose Iglesias from Boston in a three-team deal shortly before the trade deadline to bolster its chances in case Peralta was suspended. Peralta is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Detroit exercised a $6 million option to keep him for 2013. He began his career with Cleveland in 2003 and played for the Indians until 2010. He is batting .305 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs. Salary lost: $1,639,344.
Cesar Puello, outfielder, New York Mets, on option to Double-A Binghamton, 50 games: The 22-year-old has been in the Mets' minor league system since 2008. Considered a top prospect, he has been on the 40-man roster since November 2011 but has not made his major league debut. He is hitting .328 with 16 homers, 73 RBIs and 24 steals this season at Binghamton. Salary lost: $21,831.
Alex Rodriguez, third baseman, New York Yankees, 211 games (through 2014 season): The American League Most Valuable Player in 2003, 2005 and 2007, Rodriguez had hip surgery on Jan. 16. On the verge of returning to the Yankees last month, he was diagnosed with a strained left quadriceps July 21 that sidelined him for two more weeks. He was finally set to rejoin the team Monday following a pair of minor league rehab assignments. Rodriguez's suspension takes effect Thursday, but the 38-year-old slugger said he will appeal. That would keep him eligible to play until a decision by the arbitrator, which is not expected until the offseason. A 14-time All-Star, Rodriguez was selected by Seattle with the No. 1 pick in the 1993 amateur draft. He signed a record $252 million, 10-year contract with Texas after the 2000 season, then was traded to the Yankees in February 2004 and agreed to shift from shortstop. After exercising his right to terminate the deal, he re-signed with New York in December 2007, agreeing to a $275 million, 10-year contract that included $30 million in bonus opportunities. After failing to produce in October for much of his career, he had a huge postseason in 2009 and was a key to the Yankees' World Series title. He is fifth on the career home run list with 647, trailing Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660). His career has been slowed by six trips to the disabled list in the last six seasons, for a strained right quadriceps in 2008, right hip surgery in 2009, a strained left calf in 2010, right knee surgery in 2011, a broken left hand in 2012 and left hip surgery this year. After the Miami New Times story was published, Rodriguez issued a statement through spokesman Terry Fahn saying: "Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. (Anthony) Bosch's patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story — at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez — are not legitimate." Salary lost: $30 million to $33 million, if suspension lasts the full 211 games.
Jordany Valdespin, second baseman and outfielder, New York Mets, on option to Triple-A Las Vegas, 50 games: The 25-year-old Valdespin reached the majors last year and quickly showed power off the bench with a penchant for pinch-hit homers. But he's also irked teammates and opponents with his flashy antics on and off the field. Unpopular in the clubhouse, he was hitting .188 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 133 at-bats when he was demoted to Las Vegas last month. He's batting .466 with three homers and 24 RBIs in 16 games at Triple-A. Salary lost: $61,773.
NOTE 1: Cruz also loses opportunity to earn $500,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances.
NOTE 2: Sergio Escalona, Fernando Martinez and Fautino De Los Santos have minor league contracts.
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