With Major League Baseball likely mulling an extended suspension for Alex Rodriguez for his connection to a now-defunct Miami clinic that admitted doling out performance enhancing drugs to some of the game's biggest stars, the New York Yankees' third baseman said his goal is to be able to put on his pinstripes, "get back on the field and win championships."
Rodriguez, 38, spoke out about his goals to return to Major League Baseball amid rumors that he is continuing to negotiate with league officials on a suspension term after the owner of Biogenesis Labs listed him as one of the stars who got received drugs from the clinic, sources told ESPN's "Outside the Lines."
"Baseball wants something significant, they want him off the field at least through next year," ESPN'S T.J. Quinn said. "They are still thinking very seriously about a lifetime ban."
Rodriguez, whose 10-year $275 million contract made him the highest paid player in sports history, is reportedly seeking a deal that would include a two-year suspension and the chance to cash out on some of the $100 million he is owed by the Yankees, Quinn said.
But if the slugger can't strike a deal, he may wind up being banned from baseball for life, according to reports.
Rodriguez vowed to "keep fighting" to get back to the majors, and even went so far to proclaim that the sport needs to "get rid of PEDs."
"That's a must," he said.
While Rodriguez said that his "happy ending" would be to get back out on the diamond with his teammates to the Chicago White Sox in Illinois come Monday night, he has been putting in time with a minor league team as he rehabs from hip injuries that have kept him out of the majors this season.
The MLB has already handed down one suspension as a result of the Biogenesis case: Ryan Braun, 29, a former rookie of the year and MVP in 2011, was suspended July 22 for the rest of the season -- 65 games -- for using the banned substances he'd denied using for nearly two years. He stands to lose $3 million of a nearly $9 million salary.
According to ESPN, Rodriguez might face a harsher punishment than Braun. He allegedly not only violated the league's drug policy, but he also reportedly tampered with evidence.
While most of the players involved in the probe are expected to accept their suspensions and punishments, Rodriguez's legal team has repeatedly said it will appeal.
"We believe we have good, solid and strong defenses for Alex and we intend to present them when the times comes," David Cornwell, Rodriquez's lawyer, said in an interview with ESPN New York radio.
Rodriguez was scheduled to play in one more rehab game this evening. If he is feeling fit after the game and Major League Baseball has yet to announce its decision, Rodriguez could rejoin the Yankees as soon as Sunday, ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand said.
The 14-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove, and three-time American League MVP slugged a two-run homer for the Trenton Thunder at a recent game.
"A lot of people cheered when I hit that home run," Rodriguez said.