NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez was dealt the most severe punishment in the history of baseball's drug agreement when an arbitrator ruled the New York Yankees third baseman is suspended for the entire 2014 season as a result of a drug investigation by Major League Baseball.
The decision by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, announced Saturday, cut the suspension issued Aug. 5 by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig from 211 games to this year's entire 162-game regular-season schedule plus any postseason games. The three-time American League Most Valuable Player will lose just over $22 million of his $25 million salary.
Rodriguez vowed to continue his fight in federal court to reverse the decision.
"It's virtually impossible. The arbitration will stand. I think it's almost inconceivable that a federal court would overturn it," said former baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent, a graduate of Yale Law School. "The arbitration is itself an appeal from the commissioner's judgment. How many appeals do you go?"
Rodriguez is the most high-profile player ensnared by baseball's drug rules, which were first agreed to in 2002 as management and union attempted to combat the use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. In sustaining more than three-quarters of Selig's initial penalty, Horowitz's decision will be widely viewed as a victory for the 79-year-old Selig, who has ruled baseball since 1992 and says he intends to retire in January 2015.
A 14-time All-Star, Rodriguez has been baseball's highest-paid player under a $275 million, 10-year contract. He has spent parts of the last six seasons on the disabled list and will be 39 years old when he is eligible to return to the field in 2015. He is signed with the Yankees through the 2017 season.