'He’s A Guy That You Don't Want In A Lineup'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Alex Rodriguez will take the field Friday night at Yankee Stadium while a lengthy suspension from baseball is delayed until the grievance process plays out.

And at least one player in the AL East thinks the whole thing is completely unfair.

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“I don’t know what his motivation is, but I will say this: I don’t think it’s fair for the other teams,” Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria told Jimmy Traina in SI.com’s latest “Hot Clicks Podcast.”

A-Rod was suspended 211 games Monday for his alleged connection to Biogenesis, the closed Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs. Thirteen other players, including Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun and Texas’ Nelson Cruz, accepted lesser bans.

Longoria wondered why A-Rod’s appeal wasn’t expected to be heard until the offseason. Meanwhile, the Yankees’ offense will have a chance to wake up with Rodriguez’s bat in the middle of the lineup.

“I’m in the American League East,” Longoria said. “Whether he’s 100 percent or not, whether his mind is where it needs to be or not, he can affect the game in a positive way. He can affect the game in a tremendous way with just being in the lineup. In a pennant race, he’s a guy that you don’t want in the lineup. So looking at it from that perspective and that perspective only, I don’t think it’s fair that we can’t have an arbitrator hear the case sooner.”

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Boston is setting the pace in the AL East, trailed by Tampa Bay, Baltimore and then the Yankees at 11 games back. The Rays currently lead the AL wild-card race. New York is seven games behind for the second wild-card spot.

“If you get in a bench-clearing brawl and a guy punches another guy and is ejected from the game and he gets a 10-game suspension, well, you appeal that and it’s heard in the next three weeks,” Longoria said. “And then you either get 10 games or you get six or whatever. I don’t understand why that same process can’t happen for this.”

He added: “I think it’s unfair for the teams in the division and the teams that are in a pennant race right now.”

A-Rod’s presence hasn’t done much yet for the Yankees. They were swept in Chicago, scoring only eight total runs in Rodriguez’s first three games back from offseason hip surgery.

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