Alex Rodriguez will be suspended through at least the 2014 season in an announcement Monday by Major League Baseball, but the Yankees third baseman plans to file an appeal, which will enable him to play tomorrow night against the White Sox in Chicago, two people with direct knowledge of the plan told Bob Nightengale of the USA Today. The appeal would be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz in the next three weeks, according to Nightengale. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tweets the announcement of the Biogenesis suspensions will take place around 11am CT.
Davidoff also reports MLB is leaning towards only suspending Rodriguez for violating the Joint Drug Agreement, and not the Basic Agreement, allowing for an appeal. A person close to the situation told Davidoff that Commissioner Bud Selig does not want give Rodriguez the sympathy points which would come with suspending him via the "best interests of baseball" clause of the Basic Agreement. Joel Sherman, Davidoff's colleague at the Post, added Selig does not want a court fight with the union, wants to avoid the perception of not allowing Rodriguez due process, and wants to avoid outside noise so people can concentrate on what MLB says is the heart of its case: A-Rod used PEDs for years, lied to MLB serially, and tried in myriad ways to thwart the investigation (all Twitter links). ESPN's Buster Olney tweets this strategy gives Selig the high ground to go to the union and ask for tougher rules.
Rodriguez is one of about ten Major League players to be suspended tomorrow, but he is the only one who will be banned beyond this season, writes Nightengale. MLB officials have informed Rodriguez's attorneys and the MLBPA of the decision to suspend the players, and told Rodriguez he is no longer able to discuss a settlement, reports Nightengale, who attributes two people unauthorized to speak publicly before the scheduled announcement. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted he was told by a person updated on the Biogenesis inquiry that Rodriguez and MLB never were close to a settlement.
"I'll have an opportunity, when the time is right, to tell my full story," Rodriguez told reporters, including Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press (via Philly.com), last night after a four-walk performance for Double-A Trenton. "I'm excited to play Monday. I can't wait to see my teammates. I feel like I can help them win."
Manager Joe Girardi says Rodriguez, if he is in Chicago, will be in the lineup at third base tomorrow night, tweets Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.
"I think all of us are curious what's going to happen, and is Alex going to be a player for us tomorrow, and what's going to happen with the other guys that are involved in this. Because in my mind I have him penciled in here tomorrow," Girardi said (as quoted by Nightengale). "I don't suspect it'll be awkward. Most of the guys know him as a teammate and have laughed a lot with Alex and been around Alex a lot. I think it'll be business as usual. I'm sure there will be more media there obviously tomorrow but I think that's more for Alex to deal with than the rest of the guys. I don't think it'll be a big deal."
Rodriguez's suspension of at least 214 games would be the longest handed out by baseball to a player or manager since Pete Rose agreed to a lifetime ban in 1988 for gambling. Rodriguez, sidelined by various injuries, has been on a minor league rehab assignment where he has posted a pedestrain slash line of .214/.333/.452 with three home runs and ten RBIs in 51 plate appearances across four levels of the Yankees' system.