TODAY   |  July 31, 2013

Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez’s fall from grace

Alex Rodriguez was once the most promising talent in baseball, but reports are circulating this morning that he is one of nine players who will be suspended by Major League Baseball as early as this week. NBC’s Jenna Wolfe reports.

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>> it's reportedly threatening the career of one of baseball's stars. jenna wolf is here with the latest on this.

>> good morning to you. they report this morning that alex rodriguez is one of nine players that will be suspended as early as this week. so could this spell the end of a. rod?

>> reporter: he was by all accounts baseball's savior. now sports illustrated says we're in the last days of a. rod. the player that was supposed to heal the damage done by the steroid era maybe in danger of becoming it's poster boy .

>> one of the most astonishing talents the game has ever seen.

>> reporter: good-looking, hard working, clean and loaded with talent. the youngest player ever to hit 500 home runs he was on pace to break barry bonds all time record of 762. it was enough to earn him baseball's two biggest contracts ever. totaling half a billion dollars. in 2004 he followed the bright lights to new york, yankee stadium where he told matt he was living a dream.

>> i look forward to being the best baseball player i can be for the coolest team in the world.

>> so how could someone with so much potential fall so quickly from grace? first there was the steroid scandal despite denying it in 2007 .

>> for the record have you ever used steroid, human growth hormone or any other performance enhancing substance?

>> no.

>> at a press conference in the spring of 2009 , a very different answer.

>> i experimented with a banned sub trans that triggered a positive test.

>> reporter: when the tabloids took aim the fans followed. then there was his play on the field. never quite good enough when it mattered most. at least not for the money he was making. there were other distractions as well. hip surgery kept him in and out of rehab for the last two seasons. this photo shoot from details magazine of a. rod kissing his own reflection certainly didn't make things better. nor has his flair for hollywood. he has been linked to kate hudson , cameron diaz and had a rumored fling with madonna. a. rod's lawyers made it clear, they'll fight any suspension and ban if and when it comes.

>> we're left with a guy, if any kind of ban comes down where you're questioning whether he has been associated with peds his entire career.

>> it's more than just about his legacy. the yankees still owe him about $100 million over the next four years. money they might not need to pay if he is suspended, matt.