- Wallace Matthews, ESPNNewYork.com
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SAN DIEGO -- New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson, the club's union representative, said that while he "hopes" Alex Rodriguez will join the team Monday in Chicago, he is in favor of punishment for players who are found guilty of violating baseball's collective bargaining agreement regarding PEDs.
"I'm all into the innocent-until-proven-guilty thing," Granderson said, "(But) for me, the way I look at it is, whatever the rules happen to be, let's abide by the rules. If someone violates the rules, let's go ahead and take care of it."
Granderson, who is returning to the Yankees lineup Friday night for the first time since suffering a broken left hand on May 24, said he looks forward to the return of Rodriguez, who is rehabbing with the Double-A Trenton Thunder this weekend but is no lock to rejoin the Yankees with a potential suspension hanging over his head in connection with MLB's Biogenesis investigation.
Asked if he expected to see Rodriguez when the Yankees get to Chicago for three games against the White Sox beginning Monday night, Granderson said, "I hope so. I'm looking forward to it. I'd love to have him with us. That type of guy is a guy that's a presence with any lineup that he happens to be in, and I know everyone on this team is looking forward to getting him back."
But Granderson said he and Rodriguez, with whom he rehabbed his injury in Tampa last week, had not discussed Rodriguez's looming suspension or anything regarding the allegations leveled against him in the Biogenesis investigation.
"It was all about baseball, all about the team," Granderson said. "Actually, we didn't even talk about his (quad) injury. Just how everything just felt in general, timing and stuff. It was all baseball and just normal teammate talk."
In his capacity as the Yankees' union rep, Granderson said he had had discussions with MLBPA counsel Dave Prouty about a month ago regarding Rodriguez's case and came away believing A-Rod had the full support of the union in the event he is suspended and chooses to appeal the ban.
"As of those talks, I know everything was there," Granderson said, "It was like, 'Hey, we're supporting and fighting everything we can, once we get all the information we can go and attack.' (As) of a month or so ago, everything was fully supported."
Granderson said that since Ryan Braun accepted a 65-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis, he has made inquiries to better understand exactly why the Brewers outfielder was suspended without having officially failed a drug test. The CBA stipulates a 50-game suspension for a first-time offender, which Braun technically is and Rodriguez technically would be if found in violation via a non-analytical positive; Braun was assessed an additional 15 games for unspecified violations involving his grievance of his 2011 positive drug test, which was overturned.
"There's certain language in there that's still kind of gray for my understanding," Granderson said. "It does open up to what exactly is going to happen in the future. If someone is in a very similar situation that has been violated up to this point, do they get suspended another 64 games? Is it more, is it less? There will definitely need to be a little clarification moving forward so players have a better understanding of it."
Granderson also said that players "will be upset" if a contract is voided because of a PED suspension, a punishment that has been speculated as a possible consequence for Rodriguez, whose contract has four more years to run at a total salary of $86 million.
"Up until this point, there has never been a situation like that," Granderson said. "If there was a suspension, you definitely take that part of it. But can the suspension be the duration of the contract? It's a tricky subject, back into that gray area. So I definitely think there will be a little more being said from the union standpoint if that is the case."
Previously, Granderson had suffered a broken right forearm after being hit by a pitch in his first spring training at-bat by the Blue Jays' J.A. Happ, an injury that cost him the first 38 games of the season. In the eight games he was able to play between the two injuries, Granderson batted .250 with one home run and one RBI.
"I'm excited to be back," Granderson said. "If the ball comes in there, I'm looking to get out of the way, but if it's around the plate, I'm looking to attack it. Can't play scared, can't play timid."
Curtis Granderson is in favor of punishment for players who are found guilty of violating baseball's collective bargaining agreement regarding PEDs.