WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – An arbitrator has ruled that Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will miss the entire 2014 regular season — including the 2014 postseason — Major League Baseball announced on Saturday.
Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled that Rodriguez will serve a 162-game suspension, which actually reduces an earlier suspension given to the three-time AL MVP.
Rodriguez was suspended 211 games by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig on Aug. 5, 2013, following the league’s investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic, which was accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
The landmark ruling could establish precedent, however, as this is the first instance of a suspension greater than 50 games being administered to a first-time offender of MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
“For more than five decades, the arbitration process under the Basic Agreement has been a fair and effective mechanism for resolving disputes and protecting player rights,” reads a statement issued by Major League Baseball. “While we believe the original 211-game suspension was appropriate, we respect the decision rendered by the Panel and will focus on our continuing efforts on eliminating performance-enhancing substances from our game.”
A-Rod was disciplined by Commissioner Bud Selig under both baseball’s drug agreement and its labor contract.
The Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance saying the discipline was without “just cause”
Horowitz, who became the sport’s independent arbitrator in 2012, heard the case over 12 sessions from Sept. 30 until Nov. 20. Technically, he chaired a three-man arbitration panel that included MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred and union General Counsel Dave Prouty.
The 38-year-old Rodriguez could challenge the ruling in federal court, but judges rarely overturn arbitrators’ decisions.
Despite the ban, baseball’s drug rules allow Rodriguez to participate in spring training and play in exhibition games.
Rodriguez has issued a statement in reaction to the ruling.[tweet https://twitter.com/JonHeymanCBS/status/422050781609463808 width=”420″]
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