In a conference call Monday Major League Baseball Players Association executive vice president Michael Weiner suggested that suspended third baseman Alex Rodriguez will almost certainly be allowed to finish this season while the appeals process plays out and spoke at length about the perception that players are strongly in favor of stronger penalties for those who use performance-enhancing substances.

The Yankees third baseman was among 13 players who were suspended Monday and his 211-game punishment was the harshest based clearly on a more serious series of misdeeds. The remaining players chose not to contest their 50-game penalties.

While Weiner said there was no timetable for arbitrator Fredric Horowitz to hear the arguments and make a ruling he predicted that this phase of the saga wouldn't be concluded until November or December.

That's not to say Weiner could make such a prediction with absolute certainty. Many of the questions centered on the issue of whether the collectively-bargained Joint Drug Agreement would be modified. Weiner cautioned that while many players have been speaking out in favor of a stricter program that could be misleading.

"I don't know what's going to happen" he said. "There's an executive board meeting the first week in December. You know we met as a board last November. We discussed this at length. There were some players who were clearly in favor of stronger penalties. There were some who clearly were not.

"Not surprisingly players who are in favor are more likely to have something to say [now] than players who are against. We're going to see at our meeting. Any [player] can show up. We'll find out where the players are on that question."

Weiner conceded that having 14 players including the previous 65-game penalty given to Brewers All-Star left fielder Ryan Braun who were not punished because of a failed drug test (including Braun's prior matter involving a technicality) was a concern.

"That's not a good thing" he said. "We have to talk about how we can deal with that. Whether we deal with it by additional means of detection or additional means of penalty. There is no question there are players who are in favor of higher penalties but there are players who aren't. We're going to have to work through it with the Commissioner's Office and then we'll see where we are."

He further noted that there have been discussions of "differential penalties" that would discipline inadvertent users of performance-enhancers less severely than those who intentionally break the rules.