The Major League Baseball Players Association says any suspensions resulting from the sport’s latest drug investigation likely won’t be served until next year if the discipline is challenged before an arbitrator.
MLBPA leader Michael Weiner said he expects the league will notify the union of its plans for penalties in the next month, and the association will maintain any discipline should not be announced until after a grievance hearing, and then only if arbitrator Fredric Horowitz upholds a ban.
“We’re going to have a discussion with them. That discussion will include whether or not names of suspended players will be announced publicly,” Weiner said Tuesday during a meeting with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Former MVPs Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are among the more than a dozen players under investigation for ties to Biogenesis, a closed anti-aging clinic in Florida linked with the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.
A provision in baseball’s drug agreement says discipline for first offenders can be announced before a hearing if the penalty results from an allegation that became public other than through MLB or a team. The Miami New Times published allegations in January, but the union could argue that a penalty results from evidence baseball has gathered rather than the newspaper account.
After MLB and the union decide how to process grievances, hearings will be scheduled before Horowitz — but not before September. Each player is entitled to a separate hearing, and Weiner said the union wants Horowitz to hear all cases.
Meanwhile, Weiner said his symptoms have increased in the last month from an inoperable brain tumor. He can’t move his right side or right arm, and must use a wheelchair.
Weiner said the union would appoint a deputy executive director within a week or two.
MLB is moving ahead with plans to expand instant replay. “We’re pretty confident we’ll have it in place for 2014,” MLB executive vice president Joe Torre said. Part of a replay subcommittee that includes former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Braves president John Schuerholz, Torre has said all options are being considered, including an NFL-type system that would give managers the ability to challenge calls. He hopes to have plans for owners to consider when they meet next month in Cooperstown, N.Y. ... The Reds and Giants, whose July 4 game in Cincinnati was rained out, will play a July 23 doubleheader in San Francisco. The Reds will wear home uniforms and bat last, if needed, in the first game.