Major League Baseball is likely to announce Monday a suspension of New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez through the end of the 2014 season for using banned performance-enhancing drugs.
The discipline, however, might not keep baseball's active home runs leader off the field should he appeal the punishment.
A baseball official unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter described the situation as "extremely fluid" Sunday night, but said league officials expect Rodriguez to appeal. The Associated Press reported the MLB announcement will be Monday at 9 a.m. PDT.
There is speculation the fluidity is related to Rodriguez having to decide whether he'll accept a shorter suspension in exchange for not appealing or filing a grievance.
MLB wants to suspend Rodriguez, 38, beyond 50 games because it believes he interfered with its investigation of the now-closed Biogenesis of America, an anti-aging clinic in Florida accused of distributing banned PEDs.
A baseball official said the case is similar to MLB's punishment of Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, who accepted a season-ending 65-game suspension rather than appeal.
Yankees Manager Joe Girardi has said he is penciling Rodriguez into the lineup Monday when the team visits the Chicago White Sox.
Rodriguez, a three-time American League most valuable player who has 647 home runs, has been sidelined all season after having hip surgery in January and later because of a strained quadriceps.
"I'm excited to play Monday," Rodriguez said after drawing four walks with double-A Trenton on Saturday night in a final rehab game. "I can't wait to see my teammates. I feel like I can help us win and be a better team and I haven't seen a lot of my brothers in a long time."
Rodriguez and possibly 13 other players could be slapped with suspensions Monday as part of MLB's probe of Biogenesis.
The others, including outfielder Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers, shortstop Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers and shortstop Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres, are among those who could receive 50-game suspensions.
Rodriguez is reportedly aiming to have his case sent to arbitration given that he has yet to fail a drug test and that baseball's joint drug agreement states that first-time PED users can receive a maximum punishment of 50 games.
Rodriguez, according to reports, could lose more than $8 million of his $28 million salary in 2013 and $25 million in 2014.
Commissioner Bud Selig is empowered to stop Rodriguez from playing again by invoking his powers to protect the best interests of the game, but the baseball official said Sunday that is not likely to happen.
Rodriguez on Friday was defiant, hinting the Yankees might not mind having the $86 million they owe him after this season reduced by his absence.
"There are a lot of layers to it," Rodriguez said. "My job is to be able to take the field. As far as the legal stuff, I can't answer that. There are a lot of fans and teammates wondering and asking what is going on.
"There is more than one party that benefits from me not stepping on the field."
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