Alex Rodriguez has given up his fight against baseball.
The Yankees third baseman decided to accept his 162-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, according to his attorney, Joe Tacopina. Rodriguez withdrew his two federal lawsuits against Major League Baseball and another against the players’ union on Friday. Rodriguez also will not report to Yankees spring training, according to Tacopina.
Rodriguez, 38, had vowed to “exhaust” all legal remedies after arbitrator Fredric Horowitz last month reduced his initial 211-game suspension levied by MLB on Aug. 5. But Rodriguez retreated yesterday, putting at least a temporary end to one of the noisiest off-field battles in baseball history.
MLB, in a statement released Friday afternoon, said: “We have been informed that Alex Rodriguez has reached the prudent decision to end all of the litigation related to the Biogenesis matter. We believe that Mr. Rodriguez’s actions show his desire to return the focus to the play of our great game on the field and to all of the positive attributes and actions of his fellow major-league players. We share that desire.”
In October, Rodriguez also filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad and New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University Medical Center in a Bronx court, accusing them of misdiagnosing his hip injury in 2011. That lawsuit remains active, Rodriguez attorney Alan Ripka said.
Rodriguez, who did not release a statement Friday, sued MLB and commissioner Bud Selig last October in the midst of his arbitration hearing, accusing them of running “a witch hunt” intended to link Rodriguez to drugs through the former South Florida anti-aging clinic.
The second lawsuit came last month when Rodriguez sued MLB — as well as his own union — in an attempt to overturn Horowitz’s decision.
In that lawsuit against MLB and the MLBPA, Rodriguez said Horowitz demonstrated “manifest disregard for the law,” that MLB violated the collective-bargaining agreement by imposing the suspension and that the Players Association did not fairly represent him.
Last week, MLB and the players asked U.S. District Court Judge Edgardo Ramos to throw out the suit, and Rodriguez’s camp had until Friday to file a five-page response stating the merits of the case. But instead, shortly after 4 p.m., Rodriguez attorney Jordan Siev informed the court he was withdrawing both lawsuits.
“Alex Rodriguez has done the right thing by withdrawing his lawsuit,” the Players Association said in a statement. “His decision to move forward is in everyone’s best interest.”
A loophole in the collective-bargaining agreement would have allowed Rodriguez to show up for spring training, which begins Friday when pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report, even though he is not allowed to play a regular-season or postseason game for the Yankees this season.
Rodriguez’s fight with MLB had taken place since the Miami New Times printed a story 13 months ago that said records from Biogenesis linked him to performance-enhancing drugs.
Rodriguez, who admitted in 2009 that he used PEDs from 2001-03, immediately went on the offensive.
His most recent public comments indicated a shift in attitude.
Late last month, Rodriguez told reporters in Mexico City: “The league (MLB) could have done me a favor because I’ve played 20 years without a timeout. I think 2014 will be a year to rest, mentally, physically prepare myself for the future and begin a new chapter of my life.”
With the 162-game suspension, Rodriguez will lose an estimated $22 million in salary. He still is owed $61 million for 2015-17 by the Yankees from his 10-year, $275-million contract. The Yankees declined to comment.