Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez received the stiffest penalty -- a 211-game ban without pay through the end of the 2014 regular season. Rodriguez, 38, has appealed the suspension, which is set to begin Thursday. His case will be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.
Rodriguez's discipline, MLB said in its written announcement, 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 investigation.
The other players who were handed 50-game suspensions include Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo and recently demoted Mets utility man Jordany Valdespin. Minor Leaguers Fernando Martinez, Jordan Norberto, Fautino de los Santos, Cesar Puello and Sergio Escalona were also suspended.
"I think it takes big decisions, tough decisions, in order to make big changes," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Unfortunately, this is going to be a black eye to our game, but it's part of the steps moving forward. It's obviously big news and one of the days in baseball that will be marked down as a monumental day.
"It's not something we're proud of that this is going on in the game in this era -- much like the era when I played, when there was so much steroid talk. You hate that being the title of the time when you played the game. There are a vast majority of guys who are doing things the right way who get lumped in. Overall, I think guys are happy to see it come to a head and that it's over with."