NEW YORK (AP) — Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz reduced Alex Rodriguez's 211-game suspension, which was announced last Aug. 5 by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, to 162 games and any postseason games the New York Yankees play this year. Here are five things to know about the decision Saturday:
WHO WON? Most people regard the decision as a big win for Selig. It is the longest suspension ever under the drug agreement, which began in 2002, and it can be used by Major League Baseball to refute critics who say Selig did not do enough to prevent the use of performance-enhancing drugs since his tenure started in 1992.
WHAT'S NEXT? Rodriguez vowed to challenge Horowitz's decision in federal court. However, most experts say he has little change of overturning the rule. The U.S. Supreme Court has given lower court judges little leeway, ruling they may not reconsider the merits of arbitration rulings, only whether the process was flawed or corrupt.
WHEN WILL A-ROD BE ON A BIG LEAGUE FIELD AGAIN? Uncertain. Baseball's drug agreement says spring training games and extended spring training games are not included in suspensions. Carlos Ruiz and Bartolo Colon played in exhibition games last March to get ready for their returns from drug discipline. However, the Yankees and MLB may argue that since Rodriguez has no season to prepare for, there's no reason for him to report to their spring training complex in Tampa, Fla.