Alex Rodriguez suspended for 211 regular season games
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Major League Baseball said Monday that it is suspending New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez for 211 regular season games through the 2014 season amid allegations involving the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The suspension of the 38-year-old slugger goes into effect Thursday, the league said.
Officials also said that 12 Major League Baseball players have accepted 50-game suspensions without pay in connection to an investigation of performance-enhancing drug use.
A-Rod and the other players are accused of having ties to the now-shuttered Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in south Florida and taking performance-enhancing drugs. Rodriguez has denied the accusation.
The Biogenesis scandal had already ensnared one star: 2011 National League MVP and Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun.
Last month, Braun was suspended without pay for the rest of this season for violating the league's drug policy, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced.
After Monday's announcement, Selig released a statement saying, "Despite the challenges this situation has created during a great season on the field, we pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do."
'I'm going to play him'
Rodriguez has missed the entire 2013 season so far after undergoing hip surgery, and he told reporters Saturday he plans to rejoin his teammates for Monday night's game in Chicago against the White Sox.
Before the league's decision was announced, Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said he's ready to put Rodriguez in Monday's lineup.
"If he's in there, I'm going to play him," Girardi told reporters Sunday night.
Major League Baseball issued a statement saying, that he was being disciplined under both baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and the players' collective bargaining agreement.
Under the drug program, "Rodriguez's suspension will be stayed until the completion of his appeal if Rodriguez files a grievance challenging his discipline," the MLB statement said.
That is also the usual case for suspensions related to drug offenses under the collective bargaining agreement, but the statement did not specifically address that aspect.
Before the announcement, CNN sports reporter Rachel Nichols had said analysts were "expecting him to be suspended under the commissioner's powers, which means that he would not be able to play while he's doing an appeal, which is why the court system might get involved."
Rodriguez is considered one of the game's greatest sluggers. He has 647 home runs -- the fifth most ever -- in 19 seasons.
In 2009, he had an outstanding postseason as he helped the Yankees win their most recent World Series title.
He holds the largest contract ever in American sports, signing with the Yankees in 2007 for $275 million over 10 years.
Rodriguez said Friday he believes his contract makes him an attractive target for a baseball ban or suspension.
"There's more than one party that benefits from me not ever stepping back on the field -- and that's not my teammates and it's not the Yankees fans," he said.
Other players suspended
The other players suspended by Major League Baseball Monday are:
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo
San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera
New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli
Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz
Padres pitcher Fautino De Los Santos
Houston Astros pitcher Sergio Escalona
Yankees outfielder Fernando Martinez
Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero
Free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto
Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta
New York Mets outfielder Cesar Puello
Mets infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin