Saturday, January 11, 2014

Alex Rodriguez has invitation to play for Long Island Ducks: Report

Alex Rodriguez may be banned for the 2014 MLB season, but that doesn't necessarily mean the Yankees slugger won't show up on a baseball diamond somewhere.

If Rodriguez's appeal to a federal court does not work out and if he still wants to play baseball this year, he does have an option, and A-Rod would not have to venture far from Yankee Stadium. The Long Island Ducks are leaving the door open, reports Newsday.

"While some MLB suspensions have been honored by the Atlantic League in the past, if Alex Rodriguez were unable to participate in the Major Leagues this season, we would be open to exploring giving him a chance to play, stay sharp and compete against a high level of competition while helping the Ducks chase a third consecutive championship," Michael Pfaff, the Ducks president and general manager, said Saturday in an email.

Earlier in the day, independent arbitrator Frederic Horowitz ruled that Rodriguez must sit out the entire 2014 Major League Baseball season in the longest drug-related suspension in the game's history. That would severely restrict him from playing elsewhere because other professional leagues such as the one in Japan generally honor Major League Baseball suspensions.

But the Atlantic League, to which the Ducks belong, is not affiliated with the major leagues and can offer employment to whomever it chooses. Among those who have played in the league (with the Newark Bears) is Jose Canseco, the self-proclaimed "Godfather of Steroids" a few years ago.

Whether the 38-year-old Rodriguez would actually want to play independent ball in Central Islip remains to be seen, but he does have an open invitation — and that $25 million pay cut to fill.

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