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Could A-Rod play winter ball?

8/9/2013

NEW YORK -- Now that Alex Rodriguez has formally appealed his 211-game suspension, it opens up clamor on what other possibilities may arise in the future.

One such scenario is that Rodriguez goes trough with his appeal and loses some time in, say, November.

Should Rodriguez be banned from Major League Baseball for most or all of 2014, there is another avenue for Rodriguez to play baseball.

He would be eligible to play in the Dominican winter league this coming winter. However, it's not as easy as him agreeing to play in the native country of his parents.

A team like Licey, the equivalent of the Yankees in the Dominican Republic, would probably love to have Rodriguez play for them. However, Rodriguez would need permission from the New York Yankees in order to sign and play.

All major and minor league players that play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Mexico must have permission from their major league organization. That's because each player is signed to an exclusivity clause in their contract.

It's not unusual for a big league front office to allow minor league players to play winter ball, believing the experience will only help further those players careers.

It's also not unusual for established major leaguers to play some winter league games during January, a practice that helps them get ready for the start of spring training in mid-February.

A high-ranking Yankees source said the club has not given any thought to this possibility, though an MLB source confirmed it would be allowed. As some might remember, Bartolo Colon pitched for Aguilas last winter when he was in the midst of his 50-game suspension for PED use.

Rodriguez is appealing a 211-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball. A final decision on his appeal is not expected until after the end of the World Series in late October.