Alex Rodriguez might finally be facing the penalty for his
long-suspected steroid use.
According to ESPN's "Outside the Lines" report Tuesday, A-Rod is among roughly 20 baseball players targeted for suspension by Major League Baseball for their involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
MLB's big break came when they gained the cooperation of Tony Bosch, founder of the now-shuttered South Florida clinic linked to having provided performance-enhancing drugs to pro athletes. ESPN reported that Bosch is expected to begin "naming names" to MLB officials within a week and that announced suspensions could follow within two weeks.
Plus, A-Rod isn't the only Yankees' player involved in MLB's investigation.
Francisco Cervelli's name turned up in Biogenesis records obtained when the Miami New Times revealed the scandal in January, but the Yankees' catcher denied having ever obtained any drug from the so-called anti-aging clinic.
In April, ESPN reported that Sonia Cruz, the spokeswoman for Robinson Cano's charitable foundation, was listed as a client in Biogenesis documents. That prompted MLB investigators to explore the matter.
"It doesn't have anything to do with me," Cano said at the time. "I know what I'm doing and I know myself. So it does not bother me."
Rodriguez previously has denied any connection with Biogenesis through his public relations arm, though he was forced to admit to past steroid use in 2009, when Sports Illustrated reported that he failed a drug test during his time with the Texas Rangers.
Yankees officials repeatedly have stated that these matters are in the hands of MLB investigators and require no further elaboration.
But during a Monday visit to Yankee Stadium, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner admitted that Rodriguez's past indiscretions have drawn the club's ire.
"There have no doubt been times that we've been disappointed in him and we've conveyed that to him and he understands that," Steinbrenner said. "But look, everybody's human. Everybody makes mistakes."
Steinbrenner added Monday that "There's innocent until guilty, right?" and that he hadn't heard anything about Rodriguez in regard to MLB's current investigation.
Still, "from Day One they were expecting the worse," according to a person familiar with ownership. And depending upon contract language, the Yankees could further examine ways to extricate themselves from a 10-year, $275 million contract that runs through 2017.
"It's a big contract," Steinbrenner said. "But we all hope he's going to act like a Yankee and do the best he can to live up to it. We'll find out when he comes back."
Rodriguez, 37, currently is rehabbing from a second hip surgery since 2009 and isn't expected to return until after the All-Star break.
Players may serve suspensions without pay while on the disabled list. Like A-Rod, Cervelli (fractured hand) also is on the DL and rehabbing at the club's Tampa, Fla. complex.
A 50-game ban for a first offense would cost Rodriguez roughly $8.5 million in lost salary. But according to ESPN's sources, MLB could be seeking to hit A-Rod, Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun and other players with 100-game suspensions.
The reasoning is that the PEDs supplied to them by Biogenesis account for one offense and that previous denials of such use to MLB officials constitute another.
Among the players connected to Biogenesis who could be suspended are ex-Yankees Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Jesus Montero.
Bosch's reported cooperation to provide sworn testimony of having supplied PEDs to players obviously has given MLB officials the hope of gaining information required to make the suspensions stick.
According to ESPN sources, in exchange for Bosch's testimony, MLB would drop its lawsuit filed against Bosch, indemnify him from liability that might arise from his participation and provide for his personal security.
The delay in Bosch's agreement, according to ESPN's report, was his request for "the strongest assurances he could get" to secure MLB's help to mitigate the possibility of prosecution.
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