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A-Rod among 13 suspended by MLB

NEW YORK (AP) - Alex Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case - the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago.
   
Ryan Braun's 65-game suspension last month and previous punishments bring to 18 the total number of players disciplined for their relationship to Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Florida accused of distributing banned performing-enhancing drugs.
   
The harshest penalty was reserved for Rodriguez, a three-time Most Valuable Player and baseball's highest-paid star. His suspension covers 211 games, starting Thursday, and he is expected to appeal.
   
The New York Yankees slugger admitted four years ago that he used performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas from 2001-03 but has repeatedly denied using them since.

Rodriguez was allowed to make his season debut for the Yankees Monday night in Chicago against the White Sox and spoke to the media beforehand.
   
He did not deny using performance enhancing drugs, but said he will talk about whether he used PEDs at another time when he is more free to speak.  He did, however, dig in for a battle, saying no one else will defend him unless he stands up for himself.
   
In A-Rod's words: "I'm a human being. I've had two hip surgeries. I've had two knee surgeries. I'm fighting for my life.

Also among the 13 players suspended by MLB were injured Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and Mets utilityman Jordany Valdespin, recently demoted to the minors.

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