Major League Baseball handed Alex Rodriguez the longest 'non-gambling related' penalty in the history of the league, suspending the New York Yankee for 211 games. A dozen other players were suspended for 50 games earlier this afternoon.

The suspension will go into effect in 72 hours, allowing Rodriguez to file the expected appeal. A-Rod is expected to take the field with the Yankees tonight in Chicago.

"I am disappointed with the penalty and intend to appeal and fight this through the process" Rodriguez said on ESPN.com. "I am eager to get back on the field and be with my teammates in Chicago tonight. I want to thank my family, friends and fans who have stood by my side through all this."

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement that Rodriguez's punishment will begin Thursday and cover the regular and postseasons.