Independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled Saturday that the New York Yankees third baseman must serve a full-season, 162-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis. It’s a slight reduction from the initial 211-game suspension executed by Major League Baseball, but it’s still a strikeout for A-Rod.
And the largest performance-enhancing drug related suspension in MLB history.
Rodriguez addressed the suspension in a statement, though MLB had yet to confirm the ruling.
"The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one," the 38-year-old Rodriguez said in the 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. This injustice is MLB's first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review."
A-Rod's legal team has threatened to get an injunction from federal court, pushing off this punishment until his lawsuit against MLB has been seen through, but that represents a Hail Mary pass, as courts usually respect the rulings from binding arbitration hearings.
Alex Rodriguez says he'll continue to fight suspension in a statement. "No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with."
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 11, 2014
A defiant A-Rod concluded his statement with:
"I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal."