NEW YORK — Major League Baseball may try to suspend Alex Rodriguez under its collective bargaining agreement instead of its drug rules, which would eliminate any chance of delaying a penalty until after the case goes to an arbitrator, the Associated Press reported.
Rodriguez has never been disciplined for a drug offense, and a first offender under the Joint Drug Agreement is entitled to an automatic stay if the players' association files a grievance, meaning the penalty is put on hold until after an arbitrator rules.
While use of banned performance-enhancing substances falls under the drug agreement, MLB may argue other alleged violations are punishable under the labor contract, according to the AP. Taking that action would prevent the Yankees third baseman from returning to the field.
PAPI OFF THE HOOK: Red Sox DH David Ortiz won't be suspended for destroying two dugout phones with his bat, and potentially endangering teammates, during Saturday's game in Baltimore.
LEADERS BOOST PENS: The NL East-leading Braves added a much-needed left-hander to their bullpen, acquiring Scott Downs from the Angels for minor-league RHP Cory Rasmus. And the AL Central-leading Tigers acquired RH reliever Jose Veras from the Astros for minor-league OF Danry Vasquez and a player to be named. Veras, who has 19 saves, is expected to be setup man to former Rays RHP Joaquin Benoit.
CLOSER UPBEAT: Pirates closer Jason Grilli, out indefinitely with a strained tendon in his right (throwing) arm, said he'd return during the regular season.
'BOOMER' DIES: George "Boomer" Scott, a three-time All-Star first baseman who hit 271 homers and won eight Gold Gloves in 14 seasons, died Sunday in Greenville, Miss. He was 69.
EX-PITCHER DROWNS: Former pitcher Frank Castillo, who went 82-104 with a 4.56 ERA in a 13-year career, drowned in a lake near his Arizona home. He was 44. He jumped off a boat Sunday for a swim and didn't resurface.
MARINERS: OF Michael Morse was recalled from his rehabilitation assignment, and OF Jason Bay was designated for assignment. Morse had been out more than a month with a quad injury.
RANGERS: The team spoke with closer Joe Nathan and C A.J. Pierzynski, who were with RH reliever Tanner Scheppers when he was involved in a physical altercation in Cleveland Friday night, and has a "full understanding" of what happened.