AP: Astro, Ranger among 13 players facing MLB suspensions
Alex Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case -- the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago.
Ryan Braun's 65-game suspension last month and previous punishments bring to 18 the total number of players disciplined for their relationship to Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Florida accused of distributing banned performing-enhancing drugs.
The harshest penalty was reserved for Rodriguez, a three-time Most Valuable Player and baseball's highest-paid star. His suspension covers 211 games, starting Thursday, and he is expected to appeal.
The New York Yankees slugger admitted four years ago that he used performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas from 2001-03 but has repeatedly denied using them since.
Rodriguez was suspended under both the drug agreement and labor contract.
MLB said the drug penalty was for "his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone over the course of multiple years."
His penalty under the labor contract was "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."
Rodriguez has until Thursday to appeal, and if he does so, he will remain eligible to play until a decision by the arbitrator.
"Those players who have violated the program have created scrutiny for the vast majority of our players, who play the game the right way," baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said. "We continue to attack this issue on every front -- from science and research, to education and awareness, to fact-finding and investigative skills."
Others accepting the suspensions included New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and outfielder Fernando Martinez; Philadelphia pitcher Antonio Bastardo; Seattle catcher Jesus Montero; New York Mets infielder Jordany Valdespin and outfielder Cesar Puello; Houston pitcher Sergio Escalona; San Diego pitcher Fautino De Los Santos; and free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto.
The Astros issued a statement regarding the suspension of Escalona:
"We were disappointed to learn of the involvement of Sergio Escalona in relation to this matter for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game. Per the protocol outlined in the Joint Drug Program, the Astros will not comment further on this matter."
A look at the penalties agreed to by players and Major League Baseball on Monday in the Biogenesis drug case, along with their salaries lost:
Sergio Escalona, left-handed pitcher, Houston Astros, assigned to Double-A Corpus Christi, 50 games: Escalona was the winning pitcher in his major league debut, throwing a scoreless inning for Philadelphia in 2009. He made 49 relief appearances for the Astros in 2011, going 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA. Escalona missed the entire 2012 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and returned this year, going 1-2 with a 6.60 ERA in 12 minor league games.
Nelson Cruz, right fielder, Texas Rangers, 50 games: The 2011 AL championship series MVP, Cruz had never previously been linked to performance-ending drugs. After his name showed up in the Miami New Times report on Biogenesis of America, attorneys for Cruz issued a statement that read, "To the extent these allegations and inferences refer to Nelson, they are denied." When Cruz reported to spring training in February he said it was "shocking" and "depressing" to see his name connected with Biogenesis. Even with the lingering questions, he became an All-Star for the second time last month. Cruz, who turned 33 on July 1, is eligible for free agency after this season. He signed a $16 million, two-year contract to avoid salary arbitration in February 2012, when the Rangers were fresh off two straight World Series appearances. He leads second-place Texas with 27 homers and 76 RBIs this year. Salary lost: $2,732,240.
The 2013 salaries and lost pay of players suspended Monday in Major League Baseball's investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla. Lost play under baseball's Joint Drug Agreement is calculated by dividing games suspended by days of the regular season (183) and multiplying by salary.
For players with minor league contracts with monthly salaries, pay is annualized to a 183-day season on the basis of 30 days per month:
Major league contracts
Player, Team Salary Games Lost Pay
Nelson Cruz, Tex 10,000,000 50 2,732,240
Ryan Braun, Mil 8,500,000 65 3,091,126
Jhonny Peralta, Det 6,000,000 50 1,639,344
Antonio Bastardo, Phi 1,400,000 50 382,514
Everth Cabrera, SD 1,275,000 50 348,361
x-Francisco Cervelli, NYY 515,350 50 140,806
x-Jesus Montero, Sea 292,140 50 79,820
x-Jordany Valdespin, NYM 226,091 50 61,773
x-Cesar Puello, NYM 79,900 50 21,831
NOTE 1: Cruz also loses opportunity to earn $500,000 in performance bonuses based on plate appearances
Lost pay covering 211 games cannot be calculated until appeal is decided or withdrawn, and the length of the suspension and the time covering 2013, 2014 and 2015 can be calculated. If 49 games are served at 2013 rate, total lost pay would be $32,749,268. If 49 games are served at 2015 rate, total lost pay would be $30,562,951.
Assigned to minor league rosters
Player, Team Salary Games Lost Pay
Fernando Martinez, NYY (AAA) 155,501 29 24,642
Sergio Escalona, Hou (AA) 13,500/month 26 11,700
Fautino De Los Santos, SD (AA) 1,700/month 26 1,473
NOTE 2: Players on minor league rosters are to serve completion of 50-game suspensions in the next season they have signed with a major league organization.
NOTE 3: Jordan Norberto is a free agent.
Copyright 2013 by Click2Houston.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.