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A-Rod responds to 162-game suspension, says 'the deck has been stacked against me from day one'

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(AP)

Nearly two months after the hearing to determine whether or not Alex Rodriguez's 211-game suspension from Major League Baseball would be upheld or shortened has concluded, a decision has finally been rendered. According to multiple reports, including one from Yahoo's Tim Brown, Rodriguez will be suspended for the entire 162-game schedule in 2014 as well as the entire postseason, without pay. Team A-Rod spokesman Ron Berkowitz confirmed the ruling Saturday morning and released the statement from A-Rod's statement:

“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man's decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable. This injustice is MLB's first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review.
"I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court. I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension. No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players' contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.
"I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal."

Of the 13 players suspended for their connection to Biogenesis, only Rodriguez filed an appeal. Since that point, the legal process has been slow moving but heated on both sides. And it appears that fight is far from over, and perhaps only just beginning as Rodriguez and company plan to take their fight to federal court. Here's a statement from the MLB Player's Association about the A-Rod ruling:

"The MLBPA believes that every player has the right under our arbitration process to directly confront his accuser. We argued strenuously to the Arbitrator in Alex's case that the Commissioner should be required to appear and testify. While we respectfully disagree with the Arbitrator's ruling, we will abide by it as we continue to vigorously challenge Alex's suspension within the context of this hearing."

Finally, here's MLB's statement:

“For more than five decades, the arbitration process under the Basic Agreement has been a fair and effective mechanism for resolving disputes and protecting player rights. While we believe the original 211-game suspension was appropriate, we respect the decision rendered by the Panel and will focus on our continuing efforts on eliminating performance-enhancing substances from our game.”

Stay tuned to Yahoo Sports as we'll have more on the A-Rod suspension as it becomes available.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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