Jhonny Peralta only had a bit part in this morality play. A non-speaking part in the end.

And Monday as Major League Baseball raised the curtain on the latest tour de force in commissioner Bud Selig’s anti-doping fight — another sordid chapter to baseball’s so-called Steroid Era — the Tigers’ All-Star shortstop was among the dirty dozen who went away quietly with an array of sheepish statements that dutifully expressed remorse via email.

Peralta was one of 12 players accepting a 50-game suspension for violating the league’s joint drug policy part of the fallout from a six-month investigation into a South Florida anti-aging clinic that allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to pro athletes.

The unlucky 13th was the one dominating the news cycle again however as the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez defiant to the bitter end of his star-crossed career vowed to fight his unprecedented punishment from the league all but ensuring this dark cloud will stick around for months to come.

In a separate announcement Monday afternoon Selig handed down a ban through the end of the 2014 season for Rodriguez citing the “use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances” — it’s a long list league officials promise — “over the course of multiple years.”

Rodriguez a three-time MVP and one of the game’s biggest stars promptly announced his plans to appeal what amounts to a 211-game suspension as he joined his teammates in Chicago where he was scheduled to make his 2013 season debut following a long injury rehabilitation.

So to recap: A-Rod was in the Yankees lineup hitting in the clean-up spot Monday night while the rest of the league was busy trying to clean up another steroid mess. That’s fitting on so many levels. But particularly since this story has dragged on for so long that even the innocent were starting to feel dirty just talking about it.