Today MLB has suspended 13 players for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program (JDA), a program jointly administered by MLB and the MLBPA. 12 of the 13 players have been suspended 50 games:
- Antonio Bastardo (Philadelphia)
- Everth Cabrera (San Diego)
- Francisco Cervelli (New York Yankees)
- Nelson Cruz (Texas)
- Fautino De Los Santos (Padres - AA)
- Sergio Escalona (Houston - AA)
- Fernando Martinez (New York Yankees - AAA)
- Jesus Martinez (Seattle - AAA)
- Jordan Norberto (free agent)
- Jhonny Peralta (Detroit)
- Cesar Puello (New York Mets - AA)
- Jordany Valdespin (New York Mets - AAA)
All the above players will not appeal their suspensions, so that means that they will start serving some immediately. For instance, Jhonny Peralta will not be able to play until Detroit's last series of the season. All of these suspensions are in line with a first-time violation of the JDA.
In addition, three players who had previously tested positive for a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) will not have to serve an additional suspension:
- Bartolo Colon (Oakland)
- Melky Cabrera (Toronto)
- Yasmani Grandal (San Diego)
But the biggest news of the day is that MLB has suspended Alex Rodriguez 211 games:
Rodriguez's discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years. Rodriguez's discipline under the Basic Agreement is for attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation. The suspension, which will become effective on Thursday, August 8th, will cover 211 Championship Season games and any 2013 Postseason games in which Rodriguez otherwise would have been eligible to play.
This suspension is not in line with the guidelines stipulated by the JDA, and not only is Alex Rodriguez going to appeal the suspension, but the MLBPA will support him in the appeal:
For the player appealing, Alex Rodriguez, we agree with his decision to fight his suspension. We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously.
From the MLBPA's standpoint, Rodriguez's suspension appears to be a violation of due process, and so although the rank and file is as vigorously against the players using PEDs as MLB is, they are defending Rodriguez against what appears to be a punishment well in excess of what is spelled out in the JDA.
Rodriguez will have his appeal heard by an arbitrator in the next several weeks, but until then, he's going to play. He was scheduled to come off the DL today, and if he's active, he's going to be in the lineup tonight in Chicago.
Regardless of where you come down on the various issues involved with PED use in baseball, today is a very big day. None of the players suspended today have failed a drug test, so the entire body of evidence that led to these suspensions has come from MLB's investigation of Biogenesis.