New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez will be suspended for the entire 2014 Major League Baseball season and playoffs for doping after an independent arbitrator rejected the All-Star third baseman's appeal.
A defiant Rodriguez says he'll take the fight to clear his name all the way to federal court and according to reports has plans to take part in the Yankees' spring training next month.
The ban, the longest-ever in baseball but reduced from his original 211-game suspension, will cost the 14-time All-Star $30 million in salary and cast an even darker shadow over his bid to claim MLB's home run throne.
The 38-year-old slugger currently sits fifth on the all-time home run list with 654. Barry Bonds, who was under investigation for performance-enhancing drugs during his career, tops the list with 762.
Rodriguez was handed the 211-game ban by the league last season after he was implicated in an investigation into the now-shuttered Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis that is alleged to have distributed performance enhancing drugs.
He appealed the ruling and later sued both MLB and Commissioner Bud Selig, accusing them of trying to destroy his reputation and career.
Rodriguez, who has never failed a drug test but admitted using performance-enhancing drugs early in his career, issued a lengthy statement maintaining his position that he has been the victim of an MLB witch hunt.
He says it's no surprise that he's been banned for that number of games, as the deck has been stacked against him from day one.