(USA TODAY) -- Commissioner Bud Selig is prepared to levy a lifetime suspension onNew York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, while suspending abouteight others before the weekend, two people with knowledge of thenegotiations told USA TODAY Sports.
The people were unauthorized to speak publicly because no announcement is expected until Thursday or Friday.
"Ihope he does it,'' former Commissioner Fay Vincent told USA TODAYSports. "It's right for baseball. The harder he comes down, the betterit is for baseball.''
Rodriguez, according to his attorney, DavidCornwell, will appeal any suspension, regardless of the severity. Theother players are expected to receive 50-game bans, and most areconsidering accepting the discipline without appealing, according to oneof the people.
As many as 20 players were originally linked toBiogenesis, a Miami clinic that allegedly provided performance-enhancingdrugs, but some players could not be disciplined for lack of evidence.
BesidesRodriguez, All-Stars Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers and JhonnyPeralta of the Detroit Tigers are facing possible suspensions, alongwith shortstop Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres.
RobManfred, MLB executive vice president of labor relations, informed theMajor League Players Association officials on Tuesday of their findingsand suspensions. The players and their representatives will decidewhether they will file an appeal or accept the penalties, which wouldall but end their regular season with barely 50 games remaining.
Rodriguez, who used performance-enhancing drugs from 2010-2012, according to Biogenesis documents originally released by the Miami New Times, has never been punished for doping. Players who violate the drug policy are subject to a 50-game suspension.
MilwaukeeBrewers outfield Ryan Braun was suspended last week for 65 games forwhat MLB called violations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement andJoint Drug Agreement.
In banning Rodriguez for life Selig could invoke Article XII (B) of the CBA, which states:
"Playersmay be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materiallydetrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball,including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation offederal, state or local law.''
MLB will contend that, in additionto lying about performance-enhancing drug use, Rodriguez lied to MLBofficials while attempting to sabotage their investigation, according toone of the people.
When asked if MLB is planning to impose alifetime ban on Rodriguez, union executive director Michael Weiner saidin an email: "I can neither confirm nor deny.''
An appeal wouldbe heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz and would likely not occur untilSeptember. Should MLB suspend Rodriguez under the CBA, he would beineligible to play until Horowitz's decision.
The most recentexample of Article XII (B) being used came when Selig suspended AtlantaBraves closer John Rocker in 2000 for 28 days and fined him $20,000 forinflammatory comments made to Sports Illustrated. The sentence wasreduced to 14 days by arbitrator Shyam Das.
"I think that giventhe Collective Bargaining Agreement," Vincent said, "he has room to usethe best-interest clause in the CBA if there are criminal acts. And Ithink the courts are very protective of commissioners using thebest-interest clause."
Rodriguez, 38, has been sidelined allseason as he recovers from hip surgery in January. He is scheduled toplay in a rehab game Friday in Trenton, N.J. If he stays healthy, hehopes to join his teammates perhaps Tuesday in Chicago.
He remainsadamant that he is innocent of the drug charges, insisting that he hasnot used performance-enhancing drugs since 2003 when he was with theTexas Rangers.
"I have never failed a test, paid people, or donethe things they're accusing me of," Rodriguez told USA TODAY Sports in aJuly interview. "Nobody is hiding anything. It's weird."