New York third baseman could be the latest big name to be outed for drugs.
Alex Rodriguez is targeting a return to the New York Yankees on Monday, the same day that Major League Baseball reportedly could slap the superstar with a lengthy doping ban.
Rodriguez was among the players who allegedly obtained performance enhancing drugs from a Florida health clinic, Biogenesis, in a scandal revealed six months ago.
Some players have already been suspended for their links to the clinic, including Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun, Oakland pitcher Bartolo Colon, and Toronto outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Baseball fans have been bracing themselves for another wave of suspensions, although just what punishment Rodriguez might face is not clear.
Reports this week say most of the players involved are likely to receive 50-game bans, but there have also been reports that Rodriguez could face a longer suspension – perhaps even a life ban – if he is found to have impeded baseball’s investigation of the matter.
MLB officials have reportedly been waiting to announce the sanctions as they try to reach agreements with the players to accept their punishments without appealing.
Rodriguez, however, indicated he would fight any attempt to sanction him, and that he believed moves to ban him are linked to an attempt to avoid paying all or some of the almost $100 million remaining on his record $275 million contract that runs through 2017.
“I think we all agree that we want to get rid of PEDs – that’s a must,” said Rodriguez, who went 1-for-2 with a home run with minor league team Trenton during in a rehab outing on Friday.
“But when all this stuff is going on in the background, and people are finding creative ways to cancel your contract and stuff like that, I think that’s concerning for me, it’s concerning for the present, and should be concerning for future players as well. There is a process … and I’m going to keep fighting.”
Rodriguez hasn’t played for the Yankees this season as he recovers from hip surgery that was followed by a quadriceps injury.
He is scheduled to play on Saturday for Trenton, and said that he expects to travel to Chicago and play for the Yankees on Monday unless he is “struck by lightning.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi, with the club in San Diego, said he was expecting Rodriguez back.
“We expect him to be a player,” Girardi said. “I can’t tell you what’s going to happen. Only Major League Baseball can tell you. So we have to prepare as if he’s going to be a player for us.”