COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Alex Rodriguez still intends to fight his 211-game suspension through the due process of arbitration, not in federal court, a source familiar with his thinking said Wednesday.
With the hearings not expected to begin for at least another month, that means a resolution is not likely to be reached until November or even early December. And Rodriguez’s camp plans to wait for arbitrator Fredric Horowitz to render his decision before planning any other moves beyond that.
The website TMZ.com reported Wednesday that Rodriguez is prepared to file a lawsuit against Major League Baseball as soon as next month if the 211-game suspension is not lifted before then. But a source close to Rodriguez denied Wednesday that was the case and A-Rod has not given any indication — publicly or otherwise — that he won’t follow through with the arbitration process as his attorney, David Cornwell, has insisted all along.
Entering Wednesday night, Rodriguez was batting .259 (7-for-27) with a home run and four RBIs in seven games since his return Aug. 5, which also was the day MLB suspended him. A-Rod appealed the penalty three days later — keeping himself eligible to play — but a source said he was disciplined by the Yankees upon his return to the Bronx last Friday.
Brian Cashman hand-delivered a letter to Rodriguez in the clubhouse before that night’s game, a source confirmed, and copies also were sent to Cornwell, the Players Association and MLB. The letter informed Rodriguez that he was being disciplined for insubordinate behavior during his rehab, but the Yankees have yet to fine him.
A source said the team was waiting until after the arbitration hearing to fine A-Rod, who infuriated the Yankees by skipping a rehab game in Tampa and later going outside their medical staff without authorization. Rodriguez disputed the Yankees’ claim that he had suffered a grade 1 quadriceps strain. He went on WFAN to publicly contradict the team’s diagnosis.
Rodriguez has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but in 2009, he did admit to using them during a three-year period with the Rangers that began in 2003. Bud Selig handed down the 211-game suspension based on a “non-analytical” positive, which was based on an extensive paper trail and witness testimony that alleges his involvement with Biogenesis and its founder, Tony Bosch.
Despite being asked numerous times, Rodriguez has not issued any public denials of PED use, saying only there will be a time in the future when he will address those specific charges.