NEW YORK - Alex Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case -- the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago.
Ryan Braun's 65-game suspension last month and previous punishments bring to 18 the total number of players disciplined for their relationship to Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables accused of distributing banned performing-enhancing drugs.ARod Poll
The harshest penalty was reserved for Rodriguez, a three-time Most Valuable Player and baseball's highest-paid star. His suspension covers 211 games, starting Thursday, and he is expected to appeal.
During a news conference Monday, Rodriguez said he was excited to play baseball again.
The New York Yankees slugger admitted four years ago that he used performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas from 2001-03 but has repeatedly denied using them since.
The probe began when the Miami New Times published documents obtained from former Biogenesis associate Porter Fisher that linked several players to the clinic.
The others who accepted 50-game bans include: Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo; New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli; Padres pitcher Fautino De Los Santos; Houston Astros pitcher Sergio Escalona; Yankees outfielder Fernando Martinez; Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero; Free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto; New York Mets outfielder Cesar Puello; and, Mets infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin.
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