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Arbitrator cuts Rodriguez suspension to 162 games

NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez’s drug suspension was cut to 162 games from 211 by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, a decision that sidelines the New York Yankees third baseman the entire 2014 season.

Rodriguez also would be sidelined for any postseason games under the decision announced Saturday.

The three-time AL MVP was given the 211-game penalty on Aug. 5 following Major League Baseball’s investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic, which was accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.

A-Rod was disciplined by Commissioner Bud Selig under both baseball’s drug agreement and its labor contract.

The Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance saying the discipline was without “just cause”

Horowitz, who became the sport’s independent arbitrator in 2012, heard the case over 12 sessions from Sept. 30 until Nov. 20. Technically, he chaired a three-man arbitration panel that included MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred and union General Counsel Dave Prouty.

The 38-year-old Rodriguez could challenge the ruling in federal court, but judges rarely overturn arbitrators’ decisions.

Despite the ban, baseball’s drug rules allow Rodriguez to participate in spring training and play in exhibition games.

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