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Alex Rodriguez, eight players to be suspended this week

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   July 31, 2013 at 5:05 PM   |   Comments

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July 31 (UPI) -- The axe dangling over Alex Rodriguez's head is about to drop.

Major League Baseball officials reportedly told players union leaders Tuesday they plan to officially announce the suspension of Alex Rodriguez and eight other players this week.

While most of the players implicated in the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic scandal will face 50-game bans, Rodriguez and others may see far more significant punishments for lying to league investigators or interfering in the investigation.

Other players initially linked to the scandal may not face any discipline, thanks to a lack of evidence tying them Biogenesis and its owner Anthony Bosch, or, like Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera and Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon, have already served suspensions.

Sources say MLB investigators have gathered "overwhelming evidence" that Rodriguez used performance enhancing drugs between 2010 and 2012, including hundreds of emails, text messages and phone records.

Rodriguez admitted in 2009 to using steroids from 2001 to 2003, as part of an investigation that allowed players amnesty if they disclosed their use.

His impending punishment is likely to be much more severe than other players -- possibly as much as a lifetime ban -- because he allegedly tried to intimidate witnesses and purchase documents during the year-long investigation into Biogenesis.

Rodriguez's attorney said he planned to appeal the ban, but MLB Commissioner Bud Selig signaled he would invoke his power to circumvent the drug agreement between the MLB and the players union and suspend a player to protect the integrity of the game.

A player could technically appeal an Article XI, Section A1b suspension, but Selig would himself review the appeal and make the decision. The players union could theoretically sue over a violation of the collective bargaining agreement, but Rodriguez is so unpopular, he may find himself abandoned by his fellow players.

Rodriguez is under contract with the Yankees through 2017.

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