An already disastrous season for Jesus Montero clunked to rock bottom today when he accepted, without appeal, a 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in connection with the Biogenesis investigation, MLB announced officially at noon, Seattle time. The suspension will be without pay, and effective immediately.
Montero was one of 12 players suspended 50 games without appeal. The others are Nelson Cruz (Rangers), Jhonny Peralta (Tigers), Everth Cabrera (Padres), Francisco Cervelli (Yankees), Cesar Puello (Mets), Fautino De Los Santos (Padres), Fernando Martinez (Yankees), Jordan Norberto (free agent), Antonio Bastardo (Phillies), Jordany Valdespin (Mets) and Sergio Escalona (Astros). The final three names had not been previously linked to Biogenesis.
Commissioner Bud Selig also announced that Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees has been suspended for the remainder of 2013, including the postseason, and all of 2014. MLB suspended A-Rod for violations of the drug policy, not under the “best interest of the game” clause, so he is allowed to appeal, and will do so. The suspension is scheduled to begin Thursday and will cover 211 games, but Rodriguez will be allowed to keep playing until his appeal is heart. MLB said in a release that Rodriguez’s suspension “is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years. Rodriguez’s discipline under the Basic Agreement is for attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation.”
In addition, MLB noted that Toronto outfielder Melky Cabrera, A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon, and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal would not be further disciplined. All were suspended 50 games last season for violating the drug program stemming from their connection to Biogenesis.
Here is a statement from the Mariners:
“The Seattle Mariners are disappointed that Jesus Montero has violated the terms of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Our organization fully supports the Program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game.”
The Mariners said that will be their only comment on the matter. Commissioner Bud Selig and union chief Michael Weiner also had lengthy statements which can be found at the end of this post. Weiner said of the 12 players who didn’t appeal (excluding A-Rod): “The accepted suspensions announced today are consistent with the punishments set forth in the Joint Drug Agreement, and were arrived at only after hours of intense negotiations between the bargaining parties, the players and their representatives.
The Mariners haven’t had a player on their 40-man roster suspended for PEDs since Ryan Franklin, Jamal Strong and current Mariner Mike Morse in 2005. One of the unique things about this case is that none of the players failed a drug test. However, baseball still has the power to suspend players based on a “non-analytical positive” — evidence other than a drug test. The 23-year-old Montero is currently playing in Tacoma. It is believed Montero will be able to serve his entire suspension this season even though Tacoma has just 28 games remaining this season.
Montero has been linked to the Biogenesis Anti-Aging clinic since Februry – an association he strongly and repeatedly denied when the story first broke in the New York Daily News on Feb. 6. The Daily News reported that Montero had been named in the records of Biogenesis, the clinic which is at the heart of MLB’s latest PED scandal.