A-Rod in Tampa and could learn his fate Friday

The saga of A-Rod could play out in Tampa within the next 24 to 48 hours.

The Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez is  playing a simulated game today in Tampa and if all goes well he will get his first minor-league game action on a rehabilitation assignment with Tampa of the Florida State League, on Friday night.

But the big news is coming from off the field and Tampa could be ground zero for what comes next in the A-Rod saga.

It is possible as early as Friday morning, we could learn A-Rod’s long term fate, which at this point could be a lifetime ban or at the least a 200 game suspension.

It is not known if

Commissioner Bud Selig would actually issue a lifetime suspension was unclear and a permanent ban could be shortened by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz to about 200 games.

The number of players likely to be disciplined stood at 14 Wednesday.

Rodriguez, is baseball’s highest-paid player and the most prominent one linked in media reports over the past seven months to Biogenesis of America, a now closed Florida anti-aging clinic that allegedly distributed banned performance-enhancing drugs.

The Yankees expected A-Rod to get a strict penalty since he was so close to the company. He is also facing the possibility  obstructing MLB’s investigation, and not being truthful with MLB in the past. Baseball has considered suspending him for violations of its labor contract and drug agreement.

A  key point here is that even if A-Rod is banned from baseball, there is precedent for a shortened penalty: When pitcher Steve Howe was given a lifetime ban in 1992 in his seventh suspension for drug or alcohol use, an arbitrator reduced the penalty to 119 days.

A three-time MVP, Rodriguez acknowledged four years ago that he used performance-enhancing substances while with Texas from 2001-03 but repeatedly has denied using them since.

Stay tuned because come Friday the news on A-Rod could come while he is in Tampa and expect any action against him to be fought. Unless his representatives can cut a deal that A-Rod is comfortable with and is short of a lifetime ban.