The U.S. Attorneys Office in Miami last week said it was conducting a criminal inquiry into the clinics activities involving the illegal sale and distribution of drugs, including to high school athletes. It is possible that Rodriguez and other players could be subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, should the case rise to that level.
Rodriguez, who grew up in Miami, has a $275 million contract and is the highest-paid player in baseball. He previously admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs when he played for the Rangers in 2001-03, after the results of a confidential drug test were leaked, but has never been disciplined.
Reached by phone yesterday, his mother, Lourdes Navarro, declined to comment, as did his sister, Suzy Dunand. His nephew, Joe, an aspiring baseball player at Gulliver Prep, answered the door at the familys home in a gated neighborhood in Kendall, where a maid was washing the glass front door.
I really cant say anything, he said, as phones rang repeatedly inside the house.
Rich Hofmann, Rodriguezs high school coach at Westminster Christian in Miami, said it was a sad day.
Each one of us, depending on where we are in our lives, have decisions to make and we have to live with them. Unfortunately, he has to live with his and that will be his legacy.
Rodriguez, who had been rehabbing with a minor league affiliate of the Yankees until Mondays call-up to the majors, has accused MLB and the franchise of sabotaging his career so that the Yankees wont have to pay him the balance of his contract, estimated at about $60 million.
For several weeks, MLB had been rumored to be considering a lifetime ban under a provision in the players agreement that permits discipline for conduct that is detrimental to the interests of the game. In the end, its likely that Selig realized it would have been difficult to make a lifetime ban stick on appeal.
Though the players union has cooperated with baseball in its effort to clean up the sport and has supported the suspensions Executive Director Michael Weiner said the union would defend Rodriguez because Selig did not act appropriately in his case. Weiner did not elaborate.
The scandal broke in late January when one of Boschs partners, Porter Fischer, went to Miami New Times with records containing the names of major leaguers and other athletes who were buying steroids, testosterone and other prescription-only substances from the clinic. After the newspaper published the story, MLB launched an all-out campaign to build cases against the players.
In March, MLB filed a civil lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court against Bosch and others, alleging that they conspired to assist ballplayers in violating the terms of the unions collective bargaining agreement. MLB was able to use the lawsuit as a tool to force witnesses to give depositions and other evidence against the players. An MLB spokesman said Monday that the lawsuit would remain active.
Players who received 50-game suspensions in addition to Cabrera, Cruz and Peralta were: Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo; New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli; pitcher Fautino De Los Santos of the Double-A San Antonio Missions, a San Diego Padres affiliate; pitcher Sergio Escalona, of the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, a Houston Astros affiliate; outfielder Fernando Martinez, of the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, a Yankees affiliate; catcher Jesus Montero of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, a Seattle Mariners affiliate; free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto; outfielder Cesar Puello of the Double-A Binghamton Mets, a New York Mets affiliate; and infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin, of the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, also a Mets affiliate.
Norbertos suspension will be effective once he signs with another major league organization.
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, all of whom already have served 50-game suspensions as a result of violations stemming from their connections to Biogenesis, will not receive additional discipline.
MLBs investigation found no violations by Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez or Baltimore Orioles infielder Danny Valencia, both of whom had previously been linked to the clinic.
The latest suspensions follows the July 22 ban of Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, a former University of Miami standout who was suspended for the rests of this season.