A-Rod's ban reduced to 162 games by arbitrator
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez had his record 211-game suspension reduced to 162 games by an arbitrator on Saturday.
Major League Baseball confirmed the reduction of the suspension, which will also include the entire 2014 postseason, following arbitrator Frederic Horowitz's ruling.
"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's statement read. "While we believe the original 211-game suspension was appropriate, we respect the decision rendered by the Panel and will focus on our continuing efforts on eliminating performance-enhancing substances from our game."
Rodriguez released a statement shortly after the ruling, saying, "The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man's decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable."
Rodriguez was suspended in August of 2013 for his role in the Biogenesis scandal that resulted in the suspensions of 12 other MLB players due to their use of performance-enhancing drugs supplied by Biogenesis of America.
Rodriguez was slapped with a record suspension for allegedly interfering with MLB's investigation.
The 38-year-old Rodriguez filed an appeal and had been engaged in a legal battle with MLB in the weeks leading up to Horowitz's ruling.
The legal back-and-forth is likely to continue, with Rodriguez indicating in his statement that he will fight the ruling in federal court.
"I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension," Rodriguez continued in his statement. "No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players' contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me."
Rodriguez, who has maintained his innocence throughout the situation, walked out of his grievance hearing with Horowitz back in November and then went on WFAN radio to state his case and denied using PEDs.
The MLBPA released a statement shortly after Rodriguez's, saying, "The MLBPA strongly disagrees with the award issued today in the grievance of Alex Rodriguez, even despite the Arbitration Panel's decision to reduce the duration of Mr. Rodriguez's unprecedented 211-game suspension. We recognize that a final and binding decision has been reached, however, and we respect the collectively-bargained arbitration process which led to the decision. In accordance with the confidentiality provisions of the JDA, the Association will make no further comment regarding the decision."
Rodriguez was slated to make $25 million in 2014, but the three-time AL MVP's salary would be wiped off New York's books during the suspension.
01/11 13:02:30 ET