SAN DIEGO — Leaving behind the tranquility and sunshine of Southern California, the Yankees headed east Sunday night for a wild spectacle in Chicago, where Alex Rodriguez was expected to make his season debut despite a looming suspension by Major League Baseball.
All indications were that Rodriguez would be suspended about noon today, along with several other players, but would appeal and be at third base tonight against the White Sox.
The Yankees were given informal notification Sunday that Major League Baseball intended to suspend Rodriguez through the end of the 2014 season for violations of the league's drug prevention program and the collective bargaining agreement. The Yankees were also told there was no indication Rodriguez was prepared to make a deal that would end the matter quietly.
All-Stars Nelson Cruz of Texas, Jhonny Peralta of Detroit and Everth Cabrera of San Diego were among those who could get 50-game suspensions.
There was still a slim possibility Rodriguez would accept a last-minute deal for a lesser suspension, perhaps for 150 games, without an appeal. Instead, the expectation was that Rodriguez would immediately appeal and be allowed to play during that process, which could take more than a month. Rodriguez has said that he would be at U.S. Cellular Field today and ready to play, and manager Joe Girardi said Sunday he had Rodriguez penciled into tonight's lineup.
"It should be a bit of a circus," Yankees outfielder Vernon Wells said.
MLB also told the Yankees on Sunday that commissioner Bud Selig did not intend to invoke his special powers in the best interests of baseball that would theoretically allow him to remove Rodriguez's case from the normal appeals procedure and prevent him from playing until the matter was resolved. The players' union has dismissed the commissioner's right to do so.
Around the majors
GARZA APOLOGY: Rangers right-hander and former Rays starter Matt Garza apologized for a Twitter rant Saturday night aimed at A's second baseman Eric Sogard and his wife, Kaycee. Garza, who reacted angrily to Sogard's safety squeeze bunt during Saturday's game, lashed out with sexist language when Kaycee defended her husband's play. "All I want to say is I let my competitive spirit cross outside the lines, and that shouldn't happen," Garza said.
JETER OUT: Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has a strained right calf, and it's not certain when he will play again. An MRI exam revealed the mild strain, the latest setback in a year already full of injuries for the team captain.
HANLEY HURT: Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez jammed his right shoulder when he tumbled into the stands after a catch, and the team hopes he can avoid the disabled list. Also, manager Don Mattingly pushed right-hander Zack Greinke's scheduled start back to today and scratched outfielder Yasiel Puig because of an injured left thumb.
WRIGHT'S TIMETABLE: Mets All-Star third baseman David Wright is expected to miss 3-5 weeks with a Grade 3 right hamstring strain he sustained Friday.
MARINERS: Right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor was shut down for the season with a triceps injury suffered while rehabbing from a torn right lat muscle.
PHILLIES: Outfielder Domonic Brown, a former Pasco High standout who was having a breakout season before suffering a concussion July 23, is expected to begin a minor-league rehab assignment today.
RED SOX: Left-hander Matt Thornton, acquired from the White Sox last month to boost a struggling bullpen, was pulled in the eighth inning with oblique tightness.
ROYALS: All-Star catcher Salvador Perez went on the seven-day concussion disabled list a day after being struck in the mask by a foul ball.