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BASEBALL NOTEBOOK

MLB may suspend Alex Rodriguez under labor deal

Major League Baseball may try to suspend Alex Rodriguez under its collective bargaining agreement instead of its drug rules.

If MLB goes ahead with the suspension under the labor deal, it means the Yankees slugger would lose virtually any chance of delaying the penalty while he appeals the case. Rodriguez has never been disciplined for a drug offense, and a first offender under baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement is entitled to an automatic stay if the players’ union files a grievance. That means the penalty is put on hold until after an arbitrator rules.

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But a person familiar with management’s deliberations told the AP on Monday that MLB could skirt that problem by punishing Rodriguez for other alleged violations. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

Taking that action would prevent the New York Yankees third baseman from returning to the field, even if he recovers from a quadriceps injury cited by the team as the reason for keeping him on the disabled list.

And merely threatening to use that provision might give MLB leverage to force a deal.

The Yankees expect Rodriguez to be accused of recruiting other athletes for the clinic, of attempting to obstruct MLB’s investigation, and of not being truthful with MLB in the past when he discussed his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty two years ago to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada.

Four years ago, Rodriguez admitted using PEDs while with Texas from 2001-03. He has repeatedly denied using them since.

Baseball has been investigating Rodriguez and other players since a January report in the Miami New Times alleging they received PEDs from Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic on Florida.

Tigers deal for Veras

The Detroit Tigers added some help for their shaky bullpen Monday, acquiring reliever Jose Veras from the Houston Astros for minor league outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named. Veras is 0-4 with a 2.93 ERA and 19 saves this season, and the 32-year-old righthander has struck out 44 in 43 innings with only 14 walks. Veras has been a steady contributor while bouncing from team to team in recent years. He posted a 3.75 ERA with Florida in 2010, a 3.80 ERA with Pittsburgh in 2011, and a 3.63 ERA with Milwaukee last season. Vasquez, 19, hit .281 with five home runs and 39 RBIs in 96 games for Single A West Michigan this year . . . In another trade before Wednesday’s deadline, the Braves added a needed lefthander to their bullpen by acquiring Scott Downs from the Los Angeles Angels for minor league righty Cory Rasmus. The Braves lost lefthanded relievers Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty to season-ending elbow injuries. The 37-year-old Downs joins Luis Avilan as lefties in Atlanta’s bullpen. Downs was 2-3 with a 1.84 ERA in 43 games with the Angels.

Marlins’ Slowey sidelined

Marlins pitcher Kevin Slowey will be out 4-6 weeks because of a strained right forearm muscle an MRI revealed. Slowey felt discomfort while warming up in the bullpen during Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh. Slowey is 3-6 with a 4.11 ERA in 20 games, making 14 starts in his first year with the Marlins . . . Pirates All-Star closer Jason Grilli has no intention of sitting out the pennant race. He said he’s ‘‘going to be ready before the season’s out, you can mark my word on that.’’ The 36-year-old righthander hasn’t pitched since straining the flexor tendon in his throwing arm last July 22 against Washington. Doctors have ordered Grilli to rest for at least another week before deciding whether to start a throwing program . . . The Brewers have decided to show their fans a little love with an unusually generous promotion. Fans who attend a Brewers home game in August will receive a $10 voucher good for food, drinks, merchandise, and game tickets. Team owner Mark Attanasio said ‘‘this has been a challenging season for all of us’’ but the fan support has not wavered. The Brewers are in last place in the Central Division and one of the worst teams in the majors.

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