<
>

Sources: A-Rod, MLB far apart

Negotiations between Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball are apparently stuck on Rodriguez's desire to make sure he can cash in on at least some of the remaining $100 million owed under his contract, and there's also a wide gap between the suspension he is willing to accept and the one MLB would like to issue, two sources familiar with the talks told ESPN's "Outside the Lines."

The suspension of Rodriguez and eight other major league players should be announced within the next few days, with most of the other eight expected to accept 50-game suspensions without appealing.

If Rodriguez does not agree to a lengthy suspension without appealing, one source said, MLB has threatened to suspend him for life, forcing him to fight the league through arbitration. The sources did not say what length of suspension either side would accept, only that the two camps "aren't anywhere close," according to one.

Rodriguez's representatives repeatedly have said he will fight any suspension.

Sources said the Yankees have not been part of conversations, and that MLB apparently has taken the position that Rodriguez's discipline has nothing to do with his contract with the club.

Meanwhile, the Yankees announced Thursday that Rodriguez will join the Double-A Trenton Thunder on Friday to play in a rehabilitation assignment game. If he is not suspended and prevented from playing pending an appeal, A-Rod could rejoin the Yankees as early as Sunday in San Diego or in Chicago on Monday.

Whatever punishment MLB issues should be announced by Sunday, however. If Rodriguez does not agree to a suspension, any MLB discipline likely would include a ban from playing while he appeals, a move Rodriguez and the players' association are expected to fight.