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Alex Rodriguez Suspended For 2014 Season, Arbitrator Decides

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
John Angelillo
UPI /Landov
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Rodriguez, one of baseball's biggest stars and its highest-paid player, should be suspended for the 2014 season and postseason, an independent arbitrator decided on Saturday.

Fredric Horowitz, who heard Rodriguez's appeal of Major League Baseball's 211-game suspension, upheld most of the punishment handed down by the league.

According to USA Today, Horowitz reduced that suspension to 162 games but that still means that Rodriguez would miss the entire 2014 season and also lose $25 million in salary.

The suspension — which was given to Rodriguez after MLB said he used numerous performance-enhancing substances and then tried to "cover-up" his use by obstructing baseball's investigation — has the potential of ending the 40-year-old's career.

In a statement, Rodriguez said he would appeal the suspension in a federal court.

"The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one," Rodriguez said. "This is one man's decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable."

Rodriguez goes on to say that he did not use "performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court."

The players' union, which defended Rodriguez during this appeal, said it "strongly disagrees" with the decision.

"We recognize that a final and binding decision has been reached, however, and we respect the collectively-bargained arbitration process which led to the decision," the Major League Baseball Players Association said in a statement.

Yahoo! Sports has a bit of background on the arbitration process:

"Horowitz deliberated for seven weeks following the conclusion of hearings in which MLB accused Rodriguez of using drugs such as testosterone and human growth hormone and then attempting to obstruct MLB's investigation. Rodriguez did not testify in the hearings, which witnesses described as often loud and rancorous. Near the end, Rodriguez stormed from a hearing in protest of Horowitz's decision not to require Selig to testify.

"'The absurdity and injustice just became too much,' Rodriguez said at the time.

"MLB suspended Rodriguez and 13 others, including former All-Stars Ryan Braun and Nelson Cruz, last summer after the league's months-long investigation into Biogenesis of America, a South Florida wellness clinic, and its founder, Tony Bosch. The league suspended 12 players for 50 games each. Braun, who had previously tested positive but successfully appealed on a technicality, was suspended 65 games.

"MLB hit Rodriguez the hardest, at 211 games, the longest non-lifetime ban in league history."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.