A-Rod banned for entire 2014 season for drug use
New York Yankees hitter Alex Rodriguez will be banned for the entire 2014 season after his appeal against an initial 211-game doping ban was heard.
The 38-year-old saw his ban reduced slightly but will still miss all 162 regular-season games this year and will also be banned for any Yankees play-off action.
A statement on MLB.com read: "Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz has notified both Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association of his ruling that New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for a period that includes 162 regular season games in the 2014 regular season as well as the entire 2014 post-season."
Rodriguez's ban is without pay, costing him a reported 25million US Dollars over the season, though he still has three further years to run on his contract.
Despite the reduction, it remains the longest ban for drug use in baseball's history.
Rodriguez has been pro-active in fighting his suspension and in October filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball, accusing them of a "witch hunt" and of seeking to "destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez".
The league responded at the time with a statement which read: "This lawsuit is a clear violation of the confidentiality provisions of our drug program, and it is nothing more than a desperate attempt to circumvent the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
"While we vehemently deny the allegations in the complaint, none of those allegations is relevant to the real issue: whether Mr. Rodriguez violated the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by using and possessing numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years, and whether he violated the Basic Agreement by 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 20 seasons in MLB, Rodriguez has played 2,568 games for the Yankees, the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners and has hit 654 home runs.