A-Rod suspended through 2014, Padres' Everth Cabrera among 12 who accepted penalties in drug case

Cabrera gets 50-game ban, admits taking substance

NEW YORK - Alex Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case -- the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago.

Ryan Braun's 65-game suspension last month and previous punishments bring to 18 the total number of players disciplined for their relationship to Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Florida accused of distributing banned performing-enhancing drugs.

Cabrera, a first-time All-Star this season, was leading the Padres in hits, runs scored and stolen bases.

In a press conference held Monday afternoon, Cabrera told the media through an interpreter that he did in fact take a banned substance in spring 2012 while he was recovering from a shoulder injury.

Cabrera took responsibility for his actions and said he was steered to Biogenesis of America by a former agent, Juan Nunez.

Cabrera, who is from Nicaragua, also warned fellow Latin American players to be careful about which people they keep around them when they come to the United States to play ball.

The Padres' shortstop broke down after apologizing to Padres fans, the organization and his teammates.

He did not take questions.
 
Earlier in the day, the Padres released the following statement in response to the decisions handed down by Major League Baseball:

"The Padres fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from our game. The club will continue to stand behind the Commissioner's Office to ensure the integrity of baseball."

The harshest penalty was reserved for Rodriguez, a three-time Most Valuable Player and baseball's highest-paid star. His suspension covers 211 games, starting Thursday, and he will appeal.

The New York Yankees slugger admitted four years ago that he used performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas from 2001-03 but has repeatedly denied using them since.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig issued this statement on the suspensions:

"Major League Baseball has worked diligently with the Players Association for more than a decade to make our Joint Drug Program the best in all of professional sports. I am proud of the comprehensive nature of our efforts - not only with regard to random testing, groundbreaking blood testing for human Growth Hormone and one of the most significant longitudinal profiling programs in the world, but also our investigative capabilities, which proved vital to the Biogenesis case. Upon learning that players were linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we vigorously pursued evidence that linked those individuals to violations of our Program. We conducted a thorough, aggressive investigation guided by facts so that we could justly enforce our rules.

Despite the challenges this situation has created during a great season on the field, we pursued this matter because it was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do. For weeks, I have noted the many players throughout the game who have strongly voiced their support on this issue, and I thank them for it. I appreciate the unwavering support of our owners and club personnel, who share my ardent desire to address this situation appropriately. I am also grateful to the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and our club physicians, who were instrumental in the banning of amphetamines and whose expertise remains invaluable to me. As an institution, we have made unprecedented strides together.

It is important to point out that 16,000 total urine and blood tests were conducted on players worldwide under MLB Drug Programs in 2012. With the important additions of the hGH testing and longitudinal profiling this season, we are more confident than ever in the effectiveness of the testing program. Those players who have violated the Program have created scrutiny for the vast majority of our players, who play the game the right way.

This case resoundingly illustrates that the strength of our Program is not limited only to testing. We continue to attack this issue on every front - from science and research, to education and awareness, to fact-finding and investigative skills. Major League Baseball is proud of the enormous progress we have made, and we look forward to working with the players to make the penalties for violations of the Drug Program even more stringent and a stronger deterrent.  

As a social institution with enormous social responsibilities, Baseball must do everything it can to maintain integrity, fairness and a level playing field. We are committed to working together with players to reiterate that performance-enhancing drugs will not be tolerated in our game."

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