New York Yankees third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, feels his season-long ban for steroid abuse could actually help prolong his career.
Rodriguez was handed a reduced 162-game suspension last weekend. It represents the longest ban in baseball history for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The 38-year-old, who is set to lose at least $25 million for missing the entire 2014 season, is suing Major League Baseball and the player’s union in a bid to overturn his suspension.
Regardless of the outcome, Rodriguez admitted he could do with the rest after a grueling career to date.
“I think that in the year 2014, the league could have done me a favor because I’ve played 20 years without a timeout,” the three-time MVP said.
“‘I think 2014 will be a year to rest, mentally, physically prepare myself for the future and begin a new chapter of my life.”
Rodriguez is determined to stay with the Yankees through to the end of his contract in 2017 and wants to finish his career in New York, meaning he could feature in baseball betting for a few years yet.
Yankees captain, Derek Jeter, has described Rodriguez’s ban and the ongoing legal battle as “sad” and “messy”.
Jeter insisted he will stick by Rodriguez, whose 654 career home runs rank fifth all-time, a fact those who bet on baseball will be well aware of.
“I’ve played with him more than I haven’t in my career. You grow close with guys throughout the years, guys that you’ve played with for that long,” he said.
“I’m saddened by the whole situation. The whole situation is sad. Like I said, it’s been messy.”
Former Yankees catcher, Jorge Posada, offered his support to Rodriguez, saying he still “love[s] him like a brother”.
“I would give him a big hug and tell him that I’m here for him and I hate to see what he’s going through,” Posada said. “Hopefully, he can keep working hard and be ready for 2015.”