Yankees' Rodriguez banned for 2014 season by arbitrator

Sat Jan 11, 2014 7:05pm EST
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By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for the entire 2014 Major League Baseball (MLB) season and playoffs for doping after an independent arbitrator on Saturday rejected the All-Star third baseman's appeal.

A defiant Rodriguez said he would take the fight to clear his name all the way to federal court and according to reports has plans to take part in the Yankees' spring training next month.

Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz notified both MLB and the Players Association that Rodriguez, who is baseball's best paid player, "will be suspended for a period that includes 162 regular season games in the 2014 regular season as well as the entire 2014 post season", the league said in a statement.

The ban, the longest ever in baseball but reduced from his original 211-game suspension, will cost the 14-time All-Star $25 million in salary and cast an even darker shadow over his bid to claim MLB's home run throne.

The 38-year-old slugger currently sits fifth on the all-time home run list with 654. Barry Bonds, who was under investigation for performance-enhancing drugs during his career, tops the list with 762.

Rodriguez was handed the 211-game ban by the league last season after he was implicated in an investigation into the now shuttered Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis that is alleged to have distributed performance enhancing drugs.

He appealed the ruling and later sued both MLB and Commissioner Bud Selig, accusing them of trying to destroy his reputation and career.

"For more than five decades, the arbitration process under the Basic Agreement has been a fair and effective mechanism for resolving disputes and protecting player rights," MLB said in a statement.   Continued...

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez looks over his shoulder during their MLB American League baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Boston, Massachusetts in this August 18, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter/Files