Major League Baseball is moving closer to announcing drug suspensions for as many as nine players after sharing names and other information with their union.
According to the Associated Press, the sides are trying to reach as many agreements as possible that would avoid grievance hearings. Those talks could delay an announcement until Friday.
Former National League MVP Ryan Braun has already accepted a 65-game suspension after being presented with the evidence baseball has against him. Among the players expected to accept 50-game suspension his week are all-stars Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers, Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres and Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers.
MLB hopes to announce the penalties for all players involved at the same time. Under baseball's Joint Drug Agreement, suspensions for violations not caused by a positive test are effective on the third business day after the discipline is issued — another sign pointing to a Friday announcement.
The players in line for sanction are not believed to have failed a test. Instead their names and other detailed information regarding the use of performance-enhancing substances were uncovered during baseball's investigation of a now-shuttered anti-aging clinic in South Florida. The clinic's former director, Tony Bosch, has been cooperating with baseball's probe.
Others caught up in the investigation include Oakland pitcher Bartolo Colon, who was suspended last year following a positive testosterone test, as was 2012 All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera, now with Toronto, and San Diego catcher Yasmani Grandal.
They aren't expected to receive additional discipline this year, unnamed sources told the AP.
Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and Seattle catcher Jesus Montero also have been linked in media reports to the investigation.
Three-time MVP Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees stands to receive the longest suspension. While 50 games is the standard for a first offense, the stiffer penalties for some players are tied to other alleged violations, including not being truthful with MLB investigators.
The Yankees have said they expect Rodriguez, who hasn't played this season as he recovers from hip surgery, to be accused of recruiting other athletes for the clinic, attempting to obstruct MLB's investigation, and not being truthful with MLB in the past when he discussed his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty two years ago to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada.
Rodriguez has promised to fight any penalty.
The impending suspensions played a part in the biggest deal to go down on the eve of baseball's nonwaiver trade deadline. After learning that Peralta was about to be suspended, the Tigers decided to give up their quest for a pitcher and settled instead on a deal that landed them Boston shortstop Jose Iglesias, who could take Peralta's place in the Detroit infield.
That three-team, seven-player trade probably marks the end of Peralta's career in Detroit since he becomes a free agent this winter.
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