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SportsCentre Year In Review: A-Rod, Braun and the PED saga

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Shane McNeil, TSN.ca
12/14/2013 12:14:51 PM
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Leading up to SportsCentre's Year In Review on Christmas Eve, TSN and TSN.ca look back at each of the Top 10 stories of 2013.

Today, we look back at the continuing saga of performance-enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball involving Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez.

In the beginning, the Biogenesis story that The Miami New Times broke in January sounded like yet another round of the steroid scandal that has plagued baseball for decades.

The publication reported that it had obtained documents from the Biogenesis clinic that could link three players – newly-signed Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera along with Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal – to positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs.

As the days and weeks wore on, more names emerged as possible links. Bigger names including Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Alex Rodriguez hovered around the report, but would Major League Baseball find the smoking gun on these players that had eluded them in the past when trying to pin star players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens to PEDs?

Major League Baseball sued Biogenesis owner Anthony Bosch in an attempt to obtain the information it needed to bust the story open. By May, Bosch had agreed to work with MLB and by June the League began to conduct interviews with players it believed to be linked to the case.

In July, some dominos began to fall.

Braun was the first to get suspended on July 22. The Brewers' slugger - who, after successfully appealing a 50-game ban from the 2011 season had declared he had "nothing to hide" – accepted a 65-game ban, enough to keep him out for the duration of the 2013 season.

And then came the flood.

A total of 13 players were handed suspensions, with 50-game bans going to All-Stars like Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera amongst others. Their punishment, however, would pale in comparison to what was headed Rodriguez's way.

The League suspended A-Rod a total of 211 games, enough to keep him off the field until the start of the 2015 season. The hammer came down on Rodriguez not only for alleged use and possession of banned substance over multiple years, but also for what they called, "his attempts to cover up those violations and obstruct a league investigation."

Rodriguez appealed the suspension and actually returned to the field to play 44 games with the New York Yankees at the tail end of the 2013 season. Playing through fan vitriol from fans all year long, Rodriguez posted his lowest percentages since his sophomore 1995 season as a 19-year-old.

A-Rod – the only player to appeal his ban – had his appeal hearing heard over a span of 13 days in November, concluding on Nov. 21. A ruling is expected next month and the saga will be far from over.

Alex Rodriguez (Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
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