NEW YORK — Looming playoffs could force an end to negotiations in baseball’s latest drug scandal as pressure builds to impose penalties so stars can still make the postseason.
Monday appears to be the deadline for Alex Rodriguez and 13 others to accept suspensions for their ties to the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic.
While A-Rod is expected to get a lengthy ban, a penalty starting that day would allow Texas All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz to return for October.
Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta is the other targeted All-Star on a pennant contender.
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Others facing discipline include injured Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, who is in the minor leagues with AAA Tacoma.
Major League Baseball is prepared to issue two simultaneous announcements no later than Monday, a person familiar with the process told The Associated Press on Thursday. One would list players who accept suspensions; the other would name those disciplined without deals, but who could challenge penalties before an arbitrator.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
Most players face 50-game suspensions for their links to the now-closed Florida clinic, which has been accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
But baseball is threatening to kick Rodriguez out for life unless the three-time AL MVP agrees to a long ban, perhaps around 200 games.
Baseball’s highest-paid player with a $28 million salary, Rodriguez played in a simulated game Thursday in Tampa, Fla., where he is recovering from a strained quadriceps.
He is scheduled to play Friday and Saturday for Class AA Trenton, and could rejoin the Yankees Monday if he’s not banned.
• Angels slugger Albert Pujols said he wants to return from his partially torn plantar fascia when he is healthy, no matter where his struggling club sits in the standings. Pujols said he won’t need surgery.
• Rangers DH Lance Berkman, 37, said he has decided not to retire and hopes to return from the disabled list to help Texas down the stretch.
• Mike Rizzo, general manager of the disappointing Washington Nationals, signed a new long-term contract.