Once more, Alex Rodriguez swung for the fences — suing Major League Baseball and the players’ association in attempts to reverse his 162-game suspension by an arbitrator.
A-Rod’s latest legal action made public Fredric Horowitz’s 33-page decision, in which he cited “clear and convincing evidence” that the Yankee third baseman had used three banned substances and had twice obstructed MLB’s investigations.
“While this length of suspension may be unprecedented for a MLB player, so is the misconduct he committed,” Horowitz wrote.
Rodriguez might face further penalties, since baseball commissioner Bud Selig’s notice of discipline last Aug. 5 mentioned MLB’s active investigation that A-Rod allegedly received banned substances from Dr. Anthony Galea in 2009.
Galea pled guilty in 2011 to a federal charge of transporting unapproved drugs to the U.S. from Canada.
On Monday, lawyers for Rodriguez filed a 42-page complaint in Manhattan federal court. Among the charges were that the players’ association had “completely abdicated its responsibility” to protect A-Rod’s rights.
“His claim is completely without merit and we will aggressively defend ourselves and our members from these baseless charges,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark, a former Yankees teammate of Rodriguez, said in a statement.
Clark called the claims of unfair representation “outrageous,” and labeled Rodriguez’s “gratuitous attacks” on former MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner, who died last November, as “inexcusable.”
A day earlier, the players’ association claimed that the appearance of Selig and MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred on a CBS “60 Minutes” segment — where former Biogenesis director Anthony Bosch detailed his drug history with Rodriguez — was a tactless public “pile-on” against A-Rod.
Presented with Bosch’s testimony, notebooks and Blackberry exchanges with A-Rod, Horowitz concluded that Rodriguez used testosterone, human growth hormone and Insulin-like growth factor from 2010 through 2012.
Rodriguez never failed an MLB drug test, but Bosch bragged to “60 Minutes” that beating the system “was almost a cake walk.”
“The challenges lodged to the credibility of Bosch’s testimony do not effectively refute or undermine the findings of JDA (Joint Drug Agreement) violations,” Horowitz wrote.
The findings include that Rodriguez’s infamous “cousin” Yuri Sucart had made the initial introduction between Bosch and A-Rod.
During his forced 2009 admission of steroid use from 2001-2003 with the Rangers, A-Rod portrayed Sucart as a dim-witted drug mule who procured steroids from the Dominican Republic for Rodriguez.
Earlier Monday, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III allowed for the release of Horowitz’s written decision — as per the A-Rod legal team’s request, in conjunction with its lawsuit — over the players’ association’s concerns regarding confidentiality issues.
Given the “intense public interest” and Selig’s appearance on “60 Minutes”, “it’s difficult to imagine that any portion of this proceeding should be under seal,” said Pauley, according to The Associated Press.
A-Rod is further seeking an injunction to play in 2014, but an overwhelming consensus of legal experts are pessimistic about his chances in court.
Despite Bosch’s credibility issues, “he must have had enough corroborating evidence to convince the arbitrator he has at least, for the purposes of the arbitration, been telling the truth,” legal analyst Roger Cossack said Monday on ESPN. “No judge is going to overturn that. It’s just not going to happen.”
Horowitz wrote that Rodriguez played “an active role” in attempting to thwart MLB’s investigation, including the attempt to “induce Bosch to sign a sworn statement on May 31,” stating that Bosch never supplied him PEDs.
Rodriguez bolted from the arbitration hearings and did not testify under oath. He might be compelled to do so if his lawsuit is permitted to proceed.
Horowitz found nothing improper about the security and legal fees MLB provided Bosch in exchange for his testimony. In reducing A-Rod’s original 211-game suspension to the entire 2014 season, Horowitz found that Rodriguez’s separate uses of steroids constituted at least three 50-game suspensions as outlined in the JDA.
“A suspension of one season satisfies the structures of just cause as commensurate with the severity of his violations,” Horowitz wrote.
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