NEW YORK -- There have been reports that Major League Baseball could suspend as many as 20 players sometime after Tuesday night's All-Star Game for links to the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic that is alleged to have supplied performance-enhancing substances to players.
Commissioner Bud Selig, who took questions from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday, was asked directly if he was worried that any decisions he ultimately makes could impact the pennant races. An announcement after the July 31 Trade Deadline could make it difficult for a club to replace a player who is disciplined. Selig indicated that wouldn't be a consideration.
"We have to complete this investigation," Selig said. "I have to see the results of this investigation. Then we have to move forward. That is the only concern."
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner, who took the floor after Selig departed, had a slightly different take on that subject.
Weiner said that while he expects MLB to present its findings "within the next month," he also noted that the MLBPA has the right to appeal any penalties that are imposed. That creates at least the possibility that some or all of the players could serve their suspensions next season if their case isn't overturned.
"It's too early to speculate on timing," said an MLB spokesperson.
Weiner also pointed out that the collectively-bargained penalties for a positive test -- 50 games for a first offense, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third violation -- do not apply because baseball is reportedly considering basing any actions on "non-analytical" reasons as opposed to a failed drug test. MLB is reportedly building its case on the basis of receipts, phone records and other information provide by clinic founder Anthony Bosch.
"In theory, [the players] could be suspended for five games or 500 games, and we could then choose to challenge that," Weiner said. "The Commissioner's Office is not bound by the scale we have in the Basic Agreement."
The drug-testing agreement gives the Commissioner's Office the right to announce suspensions before they are appealed if the cases are already public knowledge. Weiner suggested the union will advocate that suspensions remain private and confidential until the appeals are heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz and complete.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.