Rodriguez gets steroid suspension but is still in the lineup
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, AUGUST 5- MLB announced the long-awaited suspensions without pay of A-Rod and other players resulting from the Biogenesis investigation. Those named were suspended for violating the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Not surprisingly, the name of Alex Rodriguez was included in those suspended. Although other players were also suspended, the name of Rodriguez heads the list.
Not only did he receive the longest suspension, but his name is a magnet for headlines. Despite not having played a single game in the majors this year, Rodriguez has received more media attention during the 2013 season than any MLB player. If he does not appeal or if his appeal is rejected, Rodriguez will be ineligible to play through the end of the 2014 season.
Those suspended for 50 games included catcher Francisco Cervelli and former Yankee phenom Jesus Montero, who was traded to Seattle on January 23, 2012 in exchange for hurler Michael Pineda, outfielder Jordany Valdespin of the Mets, 2013 All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Eveth Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta. Both Montero and Valdespin are currently on Triple A rosters of their respective organizations. None of the 12 players suspended will file an appeal.
The words from Yankees personnel on Sunday were about the return of Rodriguez to the team after his rehab from surgery rather than his expected suspension. Yankee skipper Joe Girardi foresaw no difficulty in A-rod’s seamless re-entry into the current roster, “I don’t suspect it’ll be awkward. Most of these 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.”
After his final rehab game with the Trenton Thunder, Rodriguez spoke enthusiastically of playing his first game as a Yankee in 2013 on Monday night against the White Sox, “I’m excited to play Monday. I can’t wait to see my teammates. I feel like I can help them win.”
Two of his experienced teammates extended a welcome to a-Rod. Recently returned Curtis Granderson remarked, “I want him back with us. This is arguably one of the best hitters of all time. Having him in the lineup is obviously going to be very positive for us.”
Robinson Cano, who has felt the responsibility of offensively carrying the team for most of the season, commented, “We’re going to be happy to see him back in the lineup, especially the way we’ve been playing. He can come up and help us win some games.”
Since Rodriguez’s suspension does not begin until Thursday, he will almost surely be in the starting lineup for the Yankees in US Celllular Field in Chicago this week. If he files a grievance, he remains eligible until arbitrator Frederic Horowitz makes a decision, which is expected within three weeks.
How the fans will react to the presence of Rodriguez in Chicago and the Bronx if he returns with the team to Yankee stadium on Friday remains to be seen.