Alex Rodriguez, others suspended by MLB in Biogenesis scandal

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was hit with a 211-game suspension on Monday for his involvement with baseball’s Biogenesis scandal, Major League Baseball announced.

Rodriguez was suspended for the rest of the 2013 season and all of the 2014 season, but is expected to continue playing as he appeals his suspension, which begins Thursday.

Rodriguez’s discipline under the league’s drug policy is “based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years,” MLB said in a statement. In addition, Rodriguez faces discipline “for attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation.”

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Twelve other players received 50-game suspensions for their connections to Biogenesis, a South Florida anti-aging clinic that supplied several high-profile major leaguers with human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs.

Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, and Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera headlined the list. The other players suspended are Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo, Mets utilityman Jordany Valdespin, minor leaguers Jesus Montero, Cesar Puello, Sergio Escalona, and Fernando Martinez, and free agents Jordan Norberto and Fautino De Los Santos.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig released a statement Monday that said in part, “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.”

In January, the Miami New Times broke the story that Biogenesis had supplied several high-profile major leaguers with human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs. Since that time, Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch has cooperated with the league’s investigation of the players. Brewers All-Star outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended on July 22 for the remainder of the season after being linked to the clinic.

“I realize now I have made some mistakes, and I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions,” Braun said in a statement at the time of his suspension.

Negotiations with Rodriguez held up the formal announcement of the suspensions. A baseball official told USA Today that Rodriguez was given the choice to accept a ban through the 2014 season or face a lifetime ban from the sport. After further negotiations between the league and Rodriguez’s representatives, the slugger will be suspended under baseball’s drug policy and thus is able to appeal his suspension. A suspension under commissioner Bud Selig’s “best interests baseball” clause would not have been eligible for an appeal.

Rodriguez will be four months shy of his 40th birthday on opening day of 2015. He signed a 10-year, $275 million contract in December of 2007.

Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal were suspended last season for their links to the clinic. No further discipline was announced for the players.