Thursday, July 18, 2013

A-Rod could still face MLB roadblock on way back to Yankees warns player's union exec

On Wednesday, Alex Rodriguez said he was "excited like a ten-year-old boy" about the possibility of rejoining the New York Yankees in Texas by Monday.

Today, that same "boy" might be holding his breath after the executive director of the Player's Association laid out a not so sunny scenario for A-Rod and the other major leaguers linked to the Biogenesis scandal.

Speaking to The New York Daily News at a union golf fund-raiser for Hurricane Sandy charities at Bethpage Black, Michael Weiner said that if Major League Baseball has overwhelming evidence linking the players to the defunct anti-aging clinic and its founder, Anthony Bosch, the powerful Players Association may be in the position of putting the kibosh on Rodriguez's long-awaited return.

“I can tell you, if we have a case where there really is overwhelming evidence, that a player committed a violation of the program, our fight is going to be that they make a deal,” Weiner said without referring to specific players. “We’re not interested in having players with overwhelming evidence that they violated the (drug) program out there. Most of the players aren’t interested in that. We’d like to have a clean program.”

The News wrote:

Weiner did not specifically mention Rodriguez by name, sources have told The News that MLB investigators have gathered an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows the Yankee star received performance-enhancing drugs from Biogenesis. Players connected to Biogenesis will soon begin meeting with union officials and MLB executives to discuss pending penalties.

Players who don’t grieve suspensions are expected to begin serving them immediately; those who opt for arbitration could see their cases drag into next year.

“We will surely meet with the commissioner’s office and try to resolve all the pending cases. If we can’t, we’ll have arbitration cases. At this point, that’s all we can say. It will happen soon,” Weiner said. Speaking to baseball writers on Tuesday, Weiner said that the union will try to find common ground with MLB officials on the length of suspensions and how they will be publicized. He reiterated that on Wednesday, adding that in many instances grievances, including some involving banned substances, are settled before a suspension is imposed and publicly announced.

“This is a somewhat new situation, but some of those grievances have been disciplinary grievances as well,” Weiner said. “They just don’t get the play that the Biogenesis case did.”

A source said in the past Weiner has quietly convinced MLB to drop 10 to 15 drug cases by pointing out flaws in those cases. Weiner also raised questions about the highly contentious Ryan Braun arbitration of 2012. In that case, the Brewers star was supported by the Players Association and successfully challenged a 50-game doping suspension by raising questions about the chain of custody of his urine sample.

“The Braun case was one of many where there were problems with the case,” the source said. “The others just didn’t become public.”

Sources said Rodriguez should expect no better than a 150-game ban if a deal is reached. Other sources said no meeting between Rodriguez, the union and MLB has been set up, but the source added: “It will be soon.”

Wednesday, Rodriguez denied that any deal is being negotiated on his behalf. “No deals. At this moment that is all we can discuss on the matter. There’s no deal that I instructed anyone to do at this point,” Rodriguez said on WFAN.

There is also the possibility that Rodriguez, after evaluation and consultation with physicians, would be declared physically unable to perform once he returns to the Yankees — almost eight months after his second hip surgery in four years — and retire, although he would still be able to collect the more than $100 million owed to him by the Bombers.

Rodriguez is expected to finish his rehab games this weekend with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankee affiliate starting Thursday.

Don't book that ticket to Texas just yet A-Rod.

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