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Originally published August 5, 2013 at 8:56 PM | Page modified August 6, 2013 at 10:40 PM

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Jesus Montero suspended for 50 games by MLB after implicated in Biogenesis scandal

Catcher elects to begin serving suspension immediately as 12 other players, including Alex Rodriguez, suffer penalties.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Raul Ibanez, the Mariners’ senior statesman, kept coming back to the word “terrible” to describe his reaction to the suspension Monday of 13 players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal.

That list included not only Ibanez’s former Mariners and Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez, who was suspended through the end of 2014, but also current Mariner Jesus Montero, nailed for 50 games.

While Rodriguez will appeal his penalty, all the rest, including Montero, accepted the terms imposed on them by MLB, and will begin serving the suspension immediately.

“It’s terrible for the game,’’ Ibanez said. “First and foremost, this is about the game. It’s about the integrity of the game. As a father of five children, it’s really difficult when I have an 11-year-old son who looks up to a lot of these players. He’s old enough to say, this person cheated, too.

“There’s life lessons in that as a father to say cheaters never prosper. It always comes back to get you.”

For Montero, 23, an already disastrous season clunked to rock bottom with word that he had violated baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension will be without pay, and will be completed in 2013 without carry-over to next year.

The other players suspended 50 games without appeal for their role in the Biogenesis investigation were Nelson Cruz (Rangers), Jhonny Peralta (Tigers), Everth Cabrera (Padres), Francisco Cervelli (Yankees), Cesar Puello (Mets), Fautino De Los Santos (Padres), Fernando Martinez (Yankees), Jordan Norberto (free agent), Antonio Bastardo (Phillies), Jordany Valdespin (Mets) and Sergio Escalona (Astros). The final three names had not been previously linked to Biogenesis. Rodriguez, meanwhile, will be allowed to keep playing until his appeal is heard.

In a statement, the Mariners said, “The Seattle Mariners are disappointed that Jesus Montero has violated the terms of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Our organization fully supports the Program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game.”

Montero could not be reached for comment, and his agent, Jamie Appel, did not respond to requests for an interview.

General manager Jack Zduriencik said the working plan is for Montero to go to Arizona and be with their rookie league team in Peoria. He can take batting and infield practice but can’t be involved in any on-field activities involving games.

On Tuesday or Wednesday, Montero will meet with Zduriencik and team president Chuck Armstrong.

“We’ll just have a normal conversation,’’ Zduriencik said. “He’s going to pay the price.”

Asked if this changes his evaluation of Montero’s future with the Mariners, the GM said: “I look at it as a bad mistake. Once he serves his suspension, players get second chances. People in life get second chances.”

The Mariners haven’t had a player on their 40-man roster suspended for PEDs since Ryan Franklin, Jamal Strong and current Mariner Michael Morse in 2005. One of the unique aspects about this case is that none of the players failed a drug test. However, baseball still has the power to suspend players based on a “non-analytical positive” — evidence other than a drug test.

“All the guys taking the suspensions knew the risk they were taking,’’ said reliever Charlie Furbush, the Mariners’ union representative. “That’s the agreement we have with MLB.”

Montero has been linked to the Biogenesis Anti-Aging clinic since February. It was an association Montero strongly and repeatedly denied when the story first broke in the New York Daily News on Feb. 6 that he had been named in the records of Biogenesis, the now-closed Miami clinic at the heart of MLB’s latest PED scandal.

When Seattle Times reporter Geoff Baker talked to Montero at the Mariners’ complex in Peoria, Ariz., the morning the Daily News story broke in February, Montero told him he had “no clue” how his name appeared in those documents.

“I feel like I’m caught in the middle of something, and I don’t know why,” Montero said then.

Montero also told the Times he had no knowledge of Anthony Bosch, the founder of the clinic, who ultimately cooperated with baseball’s investigation.

A suspension further clouds what had already been a miserable season for Montero, the Mariners’ opening day catcher. Batting .208, he was sent to the minors on May 22.

In early June, he had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. That put him out of action for more than a month. Montero has played 19 games for Class AAA Tacoma, hitting .247 with just one homer.

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @StoneLarry.

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