The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

July 25, 2013

Will Alex Rodriguez play for Yankees again?

(Continued)

Fox broadcaster and former major league catcher Tim McCarver said he regards Rodriguez "unfortunately, the way I view Ryan Braun, and that's not good. And I viewed A-Rod as a really good guy. Tarnished is understated in these times."

While positive tests lead to a set series of punishments — 50 games for a first offense, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third — MLB is not bound by that for players in the Biogenesis probe because the fixed penalties are only for failed urine and blood tests.

"In theory, they could be suspended for five games or 500 games," union head Michael Weiner said.

Braun negotiated the length of his penalty rather than contest it before an arbitrator. If Rodriguez were to file a grievance, a suspension probably would be pushed back until after a decision and would be delayed until next year.

Vincent learned in the Steve Howe case that lifetime bans are difficult to enforce. He suspended the pitcher for life in June 1992 for Howe's seventh incident related to drugs or alcohol, but Howe was reinstated that November by arbitrator George Nicolau.

Despite that, Vincent feels current Commissioner Bud Selig should not be reticent about pursuing a stiff penalty against Rodriguez.

"I think he ought to come down very hard. I don't think he has much to lose, and everything to gain," Vincent said.

Rodriguez has been a non-factor in the Yankees' season, and much of his $28 million salary this year is being covered by insurance. He is owed an additional $86 million in salary over the next four seasons.

Costas sees a rules change regarding the salary in long-term contracts as the most effective deterrent to drug use. He says management and players should reopen the labor contract and add a new provision.

"If you are found to have used PEDs and you exhaust your appeals ... and you're in the midst of a long-term contract, the team has the right at its discretion to void the contract," he said. "That's an enormous disincentive."

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