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  • MAJOR LEAGUES

    Biogenesis suspensions expected after break

  • With Major League Baseball's investigation into the scandalous Biogenesis clinic in its final stages, look for any suspensions to come out of it to be handed down shortly after the all-star break.
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  • With Major League Baseball's investigation into the scandalous Biogenesis clinic in its final stages, look for any suspensions to come out of it to be handed down shortly after the all-star break.
    There is no way MLB would take away from the upcoming All-Star Game in New York City by suspending a large number of players beforehand, even if its investigation were complete by then. Reports have indicated there are 20 or more players with ties to performance-enhancing drugs sold out of the now-shuttered clinic under former director Tony Bosch.
    MLB is believed to be near completion of the final stage of its investigation — interviewing players connected to Biogenesis through documents leaked to the Miami New Times and other news organizations before the season began.
    MLB waited to interview the players because it wanted to accumulate as much evidence as possible from documents, other records and extensive interviews with Bosch, who cut a deal to cooperate in exchange for litigation being dropped as well as other considerations. Accordingly, players such as Milwaukee's Ryan Braun likely knows what evidence — if any — MLB has regarding his ties to Biogenesis and whether the commissioner's office will try to suspend him.
    Braun maintained from the outset that his attorneys merely used Bosch as a consultant for what became a successful appeal of a positive test for elevated testosterone levels in October 2011. If Bosch's testimony and the evidence accumulated verify that assertion, Braun has nothing to worry about.
    But if Bosch reversed his previous public stance and indicated otherwise, with concrete evidence in support, MLB will try to suspend Braun. Former Bosch associate Porter Fischer, the original whistle-blower to the Miami New Times, reportedly also indicated he had evidence against Braun and the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez as well as others. Time will tell if that claim was true or some kind of grab for attention.
    When a player fails a drug test and appeals the finding, any suspension levied by MLB is designed to remain confidential until an arbitrator gives his ruling. Obviously, it didn't play out that way for Braun in the winter of 2011-12, when nearly everything regarding his case leaked to the media.
    But, because the names of players connected to Biogenesis already have been made public, MLB wants to announce any suspensions it levies before the appeal process. Then there would be the wait for arbitration hearings to be conducted, which could take several weeks depending on the number of players involved.
    MLB plans to announce the suspensions en masse. So, one day we're going to wake up and hear that several players will be playing with suspensions hanging over their heads while appeals are put into motion.
    Should suspensions be announced at the end of July and appeals take a good portion of August, there will be a month or so remaining in the season, as well as the postseason, which could take on a whole new outlook. Any 50-game suspensions upheld would lapse into the 2014 season. And if MLB levies 100-game penalties on some players as has been speculated, the suspensions would carry well into next year if upheld.
    Beyond the playoffs, the July 31 trade deadline could be affected by announcement of suspensions. If your team is in the hunt and you think a key player will be gone down the stretch, might you make a trade that you'd otherwise never consider?
    So, look for MLB to celebrate in full glory the Midsummer Classic, then get down to the grim business of punishing those who bought PEDs from Biogenesis in violation of the drug policy. Commissioner Bud Selig is determined to deter players from circumventing that policy, which took many years to put into effect after the union finally stopped fighting it.
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