Alex Rodriguez Live Blog: Rodriguez Singles to Left Field in First At-Bat

Alex Rodriguez

9:19 p.m.: Alex Rodriguez is currently batting 1.000 on the season. He singled to left field in his first at-bat off White Sox starter Jose Quintana. A-Rod’s Yankees are on their way to getting blown out, though, as Chicago leads 6-0 in the bottom of the third.

7:15 p.m.: Before Alex Rodriguez spoke from U.S. Cellular Field, Yankees manager Joe Girardi addressed the situation.

Girardi said he was not particularly surprised with punishment that was handed down by Major League Baseball, which he knew Rodriguez intended to appeal. He also said that barring injury or lack of production, A-Rod will be in the Yankees lineup for the foreseeable future.

“He’s here. He’s going to play,” Girardi said. “It really doesn’t change anything for us. When he’s healthy and he feels good, we expect him to be productive, and I’m going to play him.:

Click here to watch more from the skipper’s press conference.

6:34: p.m.: Rodriguez says he has to defend himself as he is fighting for his life.

“If I don’t defend myself, no one will.”

When asked directly about his alleged PED use, A-Rod repeatedly said there will be a time and place to discuss that, but that time is not now. All in due process, according to the Yankees third baseman.

Click here to watch more from Rodriguez’s press conference.

6:30 p.m.: “I said what I said,” is Rodriguez’s response to his postgame comments Friday night that MLB didn’t take kindly to.

A-Rod asks for patience and says that this situation will play out when asked what he would tell those who heard his 2009 request to the American people to “judge him from this day forward.”

Rodriguez feels “tremendous support” from his clubhouse and manager Joe Girardi. He says as long as he’s productive, the Yankees will want him back.

6:24 p.m.: When asked if he believes this is a witch hunt by MLB, Rodriguez says he doesn’t understand the motivation behind any of this, but won’t discuss the process.

Rodriguez says he is “so excited to wear this uniform” and help the team because “there’s a lot of games left to be played this year.”

“Above all, I’m a huge baseball fan.”

6:22 p.m.: Alex Rodriguez’s press conference is underway at U.S. Cellular Field.

5:26 p.m.: The Yankees said they would play Rodriguez once he was healthy, and they are actually doing it.

Rodriguez is in the Yankees’ lineup, batting cleanup and playing third base, for Monday’s game at U.S. Cellular Field. Rodriguez’s suspension doesn’t even start until Thursday, at which point he will still be able to play as long as his appeal is active, but in the meantime the Yankees plan to try to get their $28 million worth.

Mother Nature must not be a big fan of A-Rod, either, however. It was drizzling on the South Side this afternoon and the weather forecast calls for thunderstorms between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Even if Rodriguez wants to get back on the field, the elements may delay his comeback at least one more day.

4:32 p.m.: They do exist. Somewhere out there, Rodriguez has fans. We have seen their No. 13 shirts at Yankees-Red Sox games.

However dwindling that group might be, well, good ol’ A-Rod just wants to say, “Thanks.”

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

Whoever out there is still standing by Rodriguez’s side, take it from us: You might want to take one giant step away, because Rodriguez is now an even bigger target than ever before.

3:58 p.m.: The Yankees are indignant, as they should be. But they are mad for all the wrong reasons, which the uniquely disingenuous Rodriguez would appreciate.

Shortly after MLB handed down its 211-game suspension to Rodriguez on Monday, the Yankees issued a statement blaming the news media for misrepresenting the case.

“We are in full support of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program,” the Yankees said in a statement. “We also recognize and respect the appeals process. Until the process under the Drug Program is complete, we will have no comment. We are confident that the process outlined in the Drug Program will result in the appropriate resolution of this matter. In the meantime, the Yankees remain focused on playing baseball.

“However, we are compelled to address certain reckless and false allegations concerning the Yankees’ role in this matter. The New York Yankees in no way instituted and/or assisted MLB in the direction of this investigation; or use the investigation as an attempt to avoid its responsibilities under a player contract; or did its medical staff fail to provide the appropriate standard of care to Alex Rodriguez.

“Separately, we are disappointed with the news today of the suspension of Francisco Cervelli. It’s clear that he used bad judgment.”

Oh, yeah. That Cervelli guy. Almost forgot about him.

3:49 p.m.: How will Rodriguez spend his down time in the next year and a half if his appeal is not granted?

Wow. Can MLB suspend us, too?

3:37  p.m.: Bud Selig responded. Check out his statement here.

3:26 p.m.: Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal will not receive additional discipline. They have already served 50-game suspensions.

MLB also found no violations by Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez or Orioles infielder Danny Valencia.

3:16 p.m.: Rodriguez will not have to play through his appeal on Monday, because his suspension will not be effective Monday.

MLB announced that Rodriguez’s ban — now officially at 211 games — will begin Thursday. That is assuming he doesn’t appeal, of course, which he will.

2:39 p.m.: If Rodriguez were to take the field in Chicago on Monday, it would be highly embarrassing for Bud Selig. The commissioner has already considered handing Rodriguez a lifetime ban, and for Rodriguez to show up on a major league field a week later would be another black eye for the game.

Rodriguez will be suspended through the end of the 2014 season effective at 3 p.m. ET, ESPN’s T.J. Quinn reports. But Rodriguez is determined to play on.

Your move, A-Rod.

2:37 p.m.: Other baseball players cannot be pleased about another drug-related stain on their game, but one prominent name sees it as a necessary step.

Longoria and the Rays, who did not have any players named on the Biogenesis suspension list, are 8 1/2 games up on the Rodriguez-less Yankees in the AL East.

2:10 p.m.: Every player implicated in the Biogenesis investigation has been informed of their suspensions, and each one appears ready to accept his punishment. Every one, that is, except Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was not listed among the 12 players given 50-game suspensions by Major League Baseball on Monday. His suspension is expected to be far longer, stretching at least through the end of the 2014 season. Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, who initially was expected to appeal, will forego his appeal to stay eligible for the start of next season, Sports Illustrated reports.

The full list of players suspended Monday:

Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers
Jhonny Peralta, SS, Tigers
Antonio Bastardo, P, Philles
Everth Cabrera, IF, Padres
Fautino de los Santos, P, Padres
Francisco Cervelli, C, Yankees
Fernando Martinez, OF, Yankees
Jesus Montero, C, Mariners
Sergio Escalona, P, Astros
Jordany Valdespin, IF, Mets
Cesar Puello, OF, Mets
Jordan Norberto, P, free agent

This list does not include Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, who was suspended 65 games for multiple separate violations related to Biogenesis and MLB’s drug policy.

1:30 p.m. ET: Will he or won’t he?

Alex Rodriguez plans to suit up for the Yankees on Monday night, even with the specter of the Biogenesis scandal and a potential 214-game suspension hanging over his head. The third baseman is “penciled in” to the lineup in Chicago, Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Sunday, since Rodriguez is allowed to play under the CBA while he appeals his suspension.

Stick here for updates throughout the day to see whether Rodriguez really does play and how he fares.

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