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'Biogenesis' bans before appeals?
When major leaguers test positive for performance-enhancing drugs, their suspensions are not announced until after their appeals are heard.
Players facing suspension in baseball’s Biogenesis scandal, however, will not necessarily receive the same level of confidentiality, according to major-league sources.
Baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement enables the sport to announce suspensions for “just cause” before the appeals process begins — if the allegations against the players previously had been made public by outside sources.
First-time offenders could continue playing while appealing their penalties. But, in baseball’s view, if players such as the Blue Jays’ Melky Cabrera, Athletics’ Bartolo Colon and Padres’ Yasmani Grandal are suspended as second-time offenders, they could not play during their appeals, according to the JDA.
The losses of such players in the second half of the season potentially could impact pennant races. Baseball, however, will face a difficult time suspending Cabrera, Colon and Grandal if they used drugs from Biogenesis, a defunct anti-aging clinic in South Florida that allegedly provided players with PEDs. A player cannot be disciplined for the same offense twice.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said in February that he did not expect Cabrera to be suspended after media reports connected the outfielder to Biogenesis.
“My understanding is there’s no issue,” Anthopoulos said. “My understanding is that, as of today, we really don’t have anything to be concerned with. He served a suspension, and right now, that’s it. His suspension has been served.”
Some players believe that baseball plans to announce suspensions the day after the All-Star break, but such an aggressive timetable might be unrealistic, sources said.
Baseball soon will finish interviewing Anthony Bosch, the founder of Biogenesis, sources said. Bosch agreed to cooperate with the sport’s investigators as part of a deal in which baseball dropped its lawsuit against him, agreed to indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation and provide him with personal security, according to ESPN.
The sport has yet to interview Braun, Rodriguez or any other of the bigger names who allegedly used or purchased PEDs from Biogenesis, sources said. However, some with the players’ union expect those interviews to be completed before the All-Star Game, making it possible that the suspensions could be announced after the break.
If a player files an appeal, an arbitration panel must convene a hearing no more than 20 days after the grievance is filed, according to the JDA. The agreement states that the panel chair “shall make all reasonable efforts” to make a ruling within 25 days following the opening of a hearing.
Thus, an appeal from start to finish could take approximately a month and a half.