News Column

Baseball Drug Investigation Likely to Go Into Extra Innings

July 17, 2013

The Biogenesis investigation that looms over baseball and threatens to rain suspensions down on the game may not interrupt the postseason race by sending rosters into disarray later this season.

Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said he expects Major League Baseball to present its discoveries and suspensions resulting from the drug case "within the next month." The appeals process, however, could take several more months and suspensions won't start until 2014, Weiner said.

"When all the interviews are done, we will meet with the (commissioner's) office and try to work something out," Weiner said Tuesday. "Our players who deserve suspensions, we'll try to cope with their suspensions. Our players who don't, we will argue that they don't and hope we have success."

The Biogenesis investigation focuses on the Miami-based anti-aging clinic, which according to reports has distributed banned performance-enhancing drugs to major- and minor-league players. Reports have linked more than 20 players to the clinic, including former MVPs Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, and All-Stars such as Nelson Cruz.

Weiner said the suspensions stemming from the investigations are not bound by the joint drug-prevention agreement "50-game, 100-game, life" for the first three offenses. The agreement stipulates those punishments for positive tests. Suspensions based on "just cause" are different.

"It could be five games or 500 games," Weiner said.

The union's preference would be that all appeals have been heard and ruled on before the suspensions are made public. There is a provision in the agreement that allows for the suspensions to be announced before the appeal process because the names of the players have already been publicized in the media.

Union execs outlined the appeal process for reporters Tuesday, showing how even suspensions presented by MLB within the next month could take another month to get before the game's lone arbiter. The more cases, the longer the process will take, and without an agreement the likelihood increases those suspensions won't be served until 2014.

"They've got to prove all those cases," Weiner said. "I like (MLB senior vice president) Dan Halem a lot, but he's going to be running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. And if we have the number that you (media) suggest, it's going to take awhile."

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(c)2013 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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Source: Copyright St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 2013


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