Alex Rodriguez is facing a banned for all of 2014, but he will take it to court. Credit: Getty Images
Alex Rodriguez's 2014 season is over before it started.
MLB announced Saturday just before noon Rodriguez will be suspended 162 games after the Yankee third baseman took his performance-enhancing drug suspension to arbitration, where it was heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. He would also be suspended for any 2014 postseason games the Yankees would play.
The original suspension was for 211 games — the remainder of the 2013 season and all of 2014 when it was handed down.
“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one," Rodriguez said in a statement. "This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable."
Rodriguez has always contended he didn't deserve any suspension. He and his lawyers will fight the suspension in federal court and try to get an injunction that would allow him to play this season. Horowitz's full written ruling will not be released by MLB, however, it could become public in court. Rodriguez may also have to deny steroid use after 2003 — when he already said he used PEDs in Texas.
The reference to "testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court" is due to MLB reportedly paying for documents from the Biogenesis clinic.
"I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court," Rodriguez said.
The story of Rodriguez's connection to the Miami-area Biogenesis clinic first broke almost exactly one year ago when the Miami New-Times published a story about the clinic being investigated. Rodriguez was one of the bold-faced names heavily mentioned in the report detailing clinic founder Anthony Bosch's relationship with, and distribution of performance-enhancing drugs to, several professional athletes.
The Yankees will also save on the $25 million salary Rodriguez is due in 2014, possibly allowing them to be more involved in signing Japanese free agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. The team has said they'd like to keep their payroll under the $189 million luxury tax threshold.
Rodriguez is still under contract with the Yankees through 2017. He is due three years and $61 million, plus possible incentives.