MLB announces suspensions stemming from Biogenesis scandal

(WXYZ) - Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta has been suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

Peralta is one of 14 Major League Baseball players with ties to the Biogenesis clinic who were disciplined for violating the league's Joint Drug Agreement.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez received the stiffest penalty, as he was suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season and all of the 2014 season. It is expected that Rodriguez will appeal his suspension and be allowed to play for the Yankees tonight when they face the White Sox in Chicago.

Rodriguez's discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years.  Rodriguez's discipline under the Basic Agreement is for attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation. 

Rodriguez has not played this season but finished a rehabilitation assignment with the Yankees AA affiliate this weekend. He is prepared to return to the Yankees lineup tonight, the same day this historic suspension was announced.

In a statement released to the media, Peralta said, "In spring of 2012, I made a terrible mistake that I deeply regret. I apologize to everyone that I have hurt as a result of my mistake, including my teammates, the Tigers' organization, the great fans in Detroit, Major League Baseball, and my family. I take full responsibility for my actions, have no excuses for my lapse in judgment and I accept my suspension.

"I love the fans, my teammates and this organization and my greatest punishment is knowing that I have let so many good people down. I promise to do everything possible to try and earn back the respect that I have lost."

Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer, who was notably critical of Ryan Braun when baseball suspended the Milwaukee Brewers' slugger, told WXYZ's David Solano in Cleveland, "I'm disappointed.  You know, it's unfortunate. He made a mistake and made a bad choice and now he has to serve the punishment. That's just the way life is, that's the way baseball is, but he's owned up to it and accepts what he did and accepts the punishment and hopefully we can move forward."

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig released the following statement:

"Major League Baseball has worked diligently with the Players Association for more than a decade to make our Joint Drug Program the best in all of professional sports.  I am proud of the comprehensive nature of our efforts – not only with regard to random testing, groundbreaking blood testing for human Growth Hormone and one of the most significant longitudinal profiling programs in the world, but also our investigative capabilities, which proved vital to the Biogenesis case.  Upon learning that players were linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we vigorously pursued evidence that linked those individuals to violations of our Program.  We conducted a thorough, aggressive investigation guided by facts so that we could justly enforce our rules.

"Despite the challenges this situation has created during a great season on the field, we pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do.  For weeks, I have noted the many players throughout the game who have strongly voiced their support on this issue, and I thank them for it.  I appreciate the unwavering support of our owners and club personnel, who share my ardent desire to address this situation appropriately.  I am also grateful to the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and our club physicians, who were instrumental in the banning of amphetamines and whose expertise remains invaluable to me.  As an institution, we have made unprecedented strides together.

The Tigers responded to the news with a statement of their own:

"We recognize the suspension of Jhonny Peralta for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program as a measure taken in the best interest of the game. The Detroit Tigers continue to fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance enhancing drugs from our game. Per the protocol outline by Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement, the Tigers' organization will provide no further comment on Peralta's suspension."

A report released in February linked Peralta to Biogenesis employee Tony Bosch. The report came under investigation after Bosch alleged he provided performance-enhancing drugs to MLB players.

The Tigers traded for infielder Jose Iglesias last week in a three-team deal that sent Avisail Garcia to Chicago and Brayan Villareal to Boston. Iglesias is expected to take over the starting shortstop position in Peralta's absence.   

It is expected Peralta will lose $1.8 million of his $6 million salary due to the suspension.  He will be eligible to return to the Tigers lineup in late September. Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski has not said whether the team would welcome Peralta back at the conclusion of his suspension.

Last season, the San Francisco Giants did not welcome Melky Cabrera back to the team for the team's postseason run to a World Series championship.  Cabrera was suspended in the second half of 2012 for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Peralta represented the American League in the 2013 All-Star Game.  He is hitting .305 with 11 home runs and 54 RBI.

Bosch became a focal point in the past six months when it was discovered many elite MLB players may have utilized his services to obtain illegal enhancers.

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