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A-Rod suspended through 2014, 12 other Latino players suspended for 50 games on drug violations

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been suspended without pay through the remainder of the 2013 season and entire 2014 season, for “violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” announced Major League Baseball commissioner Allan H. Selig in a statement Monday afternoon.

Official news of the 211 game suspension – which goes into effect Thursday – comes after weeks of speculation that Rodriguez would face a suspension given ties to “anti-aging drug dealer Anthony Bosch, owner of the now-closed Biogenesis clinic in Florida,” reports NBC News.

“I am disappointed with the penalty and intend to appeal and fight this through the process,” said Rodriguez in a statement. “I am eager to get back on the field and be with my teammates in Chicago tonight. I want to thank my family, friends and fans who have stood by my side through all of this.”

The MLB also announced 50-game suspensions without pay for approximately 12 other MLB players linked to the Biogenesis investigation, including Yankees outfielder Fernando Martinez, Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta and Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero.

All of the players given 50-game suspensions are of Latino descent.

“I was seriously ill with a gastrointestinal infection, helicobacter pylori, which went undiagnosed for over a month. By the time I was properly diagnosed and treated, I had lost 40 pounds. Just weeks before I was to report to spring training in 2012, I was unsure whether I would be physically able to play,” Nelson Cruz said in a statement. “I should have handled the situation differently and my illness was no excuse.”

Peralta — who is from the Dominican Republic — also released a statement alluding to his “terrible mistake.”

“In the spring of 2012, I made a terrible mistake that I deeply regret,” said Peralta. “I love the fans, my teammates and this organization and my greatest punishment is knowing that I have let so many good people down.”

Following the announcement regarding Rodriguez’s suspension, fan reaction on Twitter ranged from outrage to disbelief. “They should suspend for life,” tweeted Luis E. Valdivieso while Twitter user Luis M. simply tweeted, “Una Verguenza total Alex Rodriguez” (English translation, “Alex Rodriguez is a total shame”). Other baseball aficionados, like Nick Pollina, simply expressed disappointment in a sports figure once regarded as one of the best Hispanic athletes of all time.

“Alex Rodriguez: The greatest collapse of any athlete in the world of all time,” tweeted Pollina, while fan Alex Hernandez tweeted “I was shocked,” regarding the news.

Rodriguez – who has played for the Yankee since 2004 – is expected to play his first major league game of the season with the Yankees Monday evening against the Chicago White Sox under a suspension appeal, reports NBC News.

On Saturday, Rodriguez walked “all four times at the plate” during a game with The Trenton Thunder, the New York Yankee’s Double A-affiliate, reports ESPN. Rodriguez – who is Dominican – played for the minor league team following surgery on his hip last January.

“I’m getting a little more gray, and starting to lose my hair,” Rodriguez told USA TODAY Sports in June about returning to baseball. “But I’m at a point in my career where I’m playing with the chips of the house. If I go out and something happens to me, well, I know I did everything I possibly could. I know that any day could be my last. I’m just going to let the chips fall where they may. And you know something, I’m OK with that.”

Rodriguez is a 14-time all-star athlete who has been named American League MVP three times since he was first drafted by the Seattle Mariners in in 1994.

One of the league’s richest athletes, Rodriguez “is owed $8,568,306 of his $28 million salary from Monday through the rest of the season,” reports the Associated Press, adding that A-Rod had previously expected to receive $86 million for the four remaining years of his Yankees contract.

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