NEW YORK - The looming playoffs could force an end to negotiations in baseball’s latest drug scandal as pressure builds to impose penalties so stars can still play in postseason games.
Monday appears to be the deadline for Alex Rodriguez and 13 others to accept suspensions for their ties to the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic. While A-Rod is expected to get a lengthy ban, a penalty starting that day would allow Texas All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz to return for October.
Major League Baseball is prepared to issue two simultaneous announcements no later than Monday, a person familiar with the process told the AP on Thursday. One would list players who accept suspensions; the other would name those disciplined without deals, but who could challenge penalties before an arbitrator.
Most players face 50-game suspensions for their links to the now-closed Florida clinic, which has been accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
But baseball is threatening to kick Rodriguez out for life unless he agrees to a long ban, perhaps 200 games. The Yankees expect A-Rod to be accused of recruiting other athletes for the clinic, attempting to obstruct MLB’s investigation, and not being truthful with MLB in the past.
Rodriguez appeared ready to talk to reporters Thursday in Tampa after a simulated game. But when he saw TV cameras approaching, he said: “I’ll talk to you guys, but no cameras.” And he left.
Rodriguez, rehabilitating from hip and quadriceps injuries, will play for Class AA Trenton on Friday and Saturday.