The Rays' star third baseman questioned why Rodriguez seemingly is going to be able to play out the rest of the season while he appeals his 211-game suspension. A ruling on the suspension, which lasts through the 2014 campaign, isn't expected to come until November or December at the earliest.
"I don't think it's fair for the other teams, because I'm in the American League East. Whether he is 100 percent or not, whether his mind is where it needs to be or not, he can affect the game in a positive way. He can affect the game in a tremendous way, which is being in the lineup," Longoria said on The Hot Clicks podcast on SI.com. "In a pennant race, he's a guy that you don't want in the lineup. Looking at it from that perspective and that perspective only, I don't think it's fair that we can't have an arbitrator hear the case sooner."
With arbitrator Fredric Horowitz likely taking until after the season ends before making his ruling, the Yankees will be able to use Rodriguez as they make their playoff push. Entering Friday, the Yankees are 11 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East and seven games behind Oakland and Texas for the second wild card. The Yankees have lost four in a row as they begin a three-game set with Detroit.
Rodriguez's return hasn't sparked the Yankees, as they were swept by the White Sox in his first three games this season. Rodriguez went 3-for-11 with zero homers and zero RBIs, but he does have a .429 on-base percentage. He's batting fifth and playing third in Friday's game against Detroit.
Longoria is puzzled by the length of the appeals process, asking why it's not handled more swiftly like with suspensions that come after a brawl.
"If you get in a bench-clearing brawl and a guy punches another guy and is ejected from the game and he gets a 10-game suspension, well you appeal that and it's heard within the next three weeks," Longoria said. "Then you either get 10 games or six or whatever. I don't understand why that same process can't happen with this."
The Yankees' third baseman is the only one of the 13 players served suspensions this week for violating the drug policy to appeal, as the others, including teammate Francisco Cervelli, accepted their 50-game suspensions.
"I'm wondering if that's because maybe it's a longer process because there's more to be presented. It's more like a court case than the other situations," Longoria said in comparing these suspensions to brawl suspensions. "I just don't think it's fair. If the other guys are going to serve them, then why doesn't he? Why wouldn't all the other guys appeal and continue playing? But I don't know. I don't understand."
The Rays currently own the first wild-card spot and are two games behind Boston in the AL East. Tampa Bay has six games left with the Yankees, including three at Yankee Stadium in the final week of the season.
Longoria said he doesn't have a relationship with Rodriguez.
"I think he just put himself in some bad situations. He just put himself behind the eight ball," Longoria said. "It's hard to look at him, and for as many times as he's done what he's done and admitted it, been caught obviously in what was it '03 and '07 or whatever, that interview when he said that this is what he did, it's just tough to believe this didn't occur now based off his history."
Rodriguez admitted in 2009 to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001-03 while playing with Texas.
"One bad decision can ruin a career, especially in this game, and then it's tough to regain the faith of the fans," Longoria said. "It's tough to regain the trust of the fans, and the same thing goes with your peers and your colleagues."