Twelve major and minor league baseball players were suspended 50 games today in the most sweeping sanctions in baseball's decade-long battle against performance enhancing drugs, according to FoxSports.com, citing sources.
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is also expected to be suspended when Major League Baseball announces the punishments today.
Rodriguez and his representatives have indicated they would appeal any suspension, allowing him to play. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Sunday he expects Rodriguez to make his season-debut tonight in Chicago.
The most significant names on the list include Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta and San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera.
Among the other players suspended for 50 games were: Philadelphia Phillies reliever Antonio Bastardo, New York Mets outfielder Jordany Valdespin, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Seattle Mariners minor league catcher Jesus Montero, Mets minor league outfielder Cesar Puello, San Diego Padres minor league pitcher Fautino De Los Santos, Houston Astros minor league pitcher Sergio Escalona, Yankees minor league outfielder Fernando Martinez and free-agent pitcher Jordan Norberto.
Cruz's acceptance stunned the playoff-contending Rangers, who trail the Oakland Athletics by 2 1/2 games in the American League West and have no ready replacement for their right fielder. Cruz ranks fourth in the American League in home runs (27) and fifth in RBI (76).
Cruz would be eligible for the postseason but most significant for the 33-year-old is that he can enter this winter's free-agent market with his punishment behind him.
Toronto outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was suspended 50 games during last season while leading the National League in batting for the San Francisco Giants, got a two-year, $16 million deal from the Blue Jays before this season -- a raise from his one-year, $6 million contract with San Francisco.