Baseball star Alex Rodriguez’ surgically repaired hip is sound and he’s ready to play baseball again. His team, the New York Yankees, has made clear it isn’t ready to have him back, and that’s understandable.
By all accounts, Major League Baseball is about to drop the hammer on A-Rod — suspending him for the rest of this year and next, perhaps even permanently — for what are believed to be a number of violations of its performance enhancing drug policy and for misleading league investigators when they asked him about it.
If he’s committed half the sins he’s widely rumored to have — most of which were detailed in a January Miami New Times article that led to last week’s suspension of the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun — MLB should be pushing for a long-term suspension, which at Rodriguez’ advancing age would effectively end his career. And the players’ union would be unwise to appeal, which would allow Rodriguez to keep playing, pending an arbitrator’s ruling; to do so would make it look sympathetic, if not complicit.
Time is the essence to A-Rod, because he’s already missed half a season from hip surgery, and the longer he waits to get back, the more difficult any comeback would be. But it might take another year to settle any appeal, and given A-Rod’s history with performance-enhancing drugs (he admitted to taking them several years ago, but avoided suspension because they weren’t banned at the time) and the evidence that’s apparently been amassed against him, he doesn’t deserve the benefit of any doubt.
MLB would look more than a bit hypocritical after all it’s been saying and doing about PEDs if it tolerated Rodriguez’ return even for a few weeks. It needs to act quickly and decisively, invoking, if necessary, the collective bargaining agreement as an alternative to its drug rules (which the players’ union could contest).