Paul White, USA TODAY Sports
Twelve major and minor league baseball players were suspended 50 games today in the most sweeping sanctions in baseball's decade-long battle against performance enhancing drugs, according to FoxSports.com, citing sources.
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is also expected to be suspended when Major League Baseball announces the punishments today.
Rodriguez and his representatives have indicated they would appeal any suspension, allowing him to play. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Sunday he expects Rodriguez to make his season-debut tonight in Chicago.
The most significant names on the list include Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta and San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera.
Among the other players suspended for 50 games were: Philadelphia Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo, New York Mets outfielder Jordany Valdespin, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Seattle Mariners minor league catcher Jesus Montero, Mets minor league outfielder Cesar Puello, San Diego Padres minor league pitcher Fautino De Los Santos, Houston Astros minor league pitcher Sergio Escalona, Yankees minor league outfielder Fernando Martinez and free-agent pitcher Jordan Norberto.
Cruz's acceptance stunned the playoff-contending Rangers, who trail the Oakland Athletics by 2 1/2 games in the American League West and have no ready replacement for their right fielder. Cruz ranks fourth in the American League in home runs (27) and fifth in RBI (76).
Cruz would be eligible for the postseason but most significant for the 33-year-old is that he can enter this winter's free-agent market with his punishment behind him.
Toronto outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was suspended 50 games during last season while leading the National League in batting for the San Francisco Giants, got a two-year, $16 million deal from the Blue Jays before this season -- a raise from his one-year, $6 million contract with San Francisco.
The Associated Press is reporting that Alex Rodriguez remained the lone holdout while All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were among 12 players who accepted 50-game penalties from Major League Baseball on Monday as part of its Biogenesis drug investigation, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the suspensions had not yet been announced.
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.
MLB informed the Yankees on Sunday that Rodriguez will be suspended for his links to the now-closed anti-aging clinic outside Miami, another person said, also speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Yankees weren't told the exact length of the suspension, though they were under the impression it will be through the 2014 season, the person said.
But the person also said A-Rod will be eligible to play while he appeals the penalty to an arbitrator.
Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun accepted a season-ending, 65-game suspension two weeks ago.
A total of 14 players - including Braun and Rodriguez - were targeted in the drug probe. MLB's investigation was sparked in January when the Miami New Times published documents obtained from former Biogenesis associate Porter Fisher that linked several players to the clinic.
Cruz, a Texas outfielder, leads his team in home runs and RBIs. Peralta is a two-time All-Star shortstop with Detroit. Cabrera, the San Diego shortstop, leads the National League in stolen bases.
Contributing: Associated Press