NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Alex Rodriguez is appealing his 211-game suspension related to Major League Baseball’s latest performance-enhancing drugs scandal, and a picture of his defense is finally starting to emerge.
Or is it?
The Yankees third baseman, who has promised to make his story public when the time is right, is presenting a case in front of arbitrator Fredric Horowitz “based partly on the idea” that he thought he obtained “innocent legal supplements,” according to the New York Daily News.
A-Rod’s spokesman, Ron Berkowitz, refuted the report in a statement: “We cannot provide any details of this hearing as the Chair of the Arbitration Panel has issued an order prohibiting all parties from commenting publicly on the confidential proceedings, but what is being reported is NOT true.”
A bombshell report in the Miami New Times tied Rodriguez and other baseball players in January to Biogenesis, the shuttered Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing PEDs. More names — including Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun — were linked to the clinic on Feb. 5 by Yahoo! Sports.
Rodriguez has been on hand at league headquarters in Manhattan for his appeal hearing, which began on Monday. Biogenesis head Anthony Bosch testified for MLB on Monday and Tuesday, the Daily News reported.
Baseball has presented a response to A-Rod’s narrative, according to the paper: “If the Biogenesis products were legitimate, MLB argues, why were they so expensive and why were the transactions so secretive?”
Twelve players were banned 50 games for their ties to Biogenesis. Braun, who denied using PEDs in the past, previously accepted a 65-game suspension.
Rodriguez is the only player appealing his suspension, which can’t begin until the grievance process plays out. Horowitz is expected to make a decision in the coming months.
In an Aug. 5 statement, MLB said A-Rod’s ban was for “his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone over the course of multiple years.” The league also accused him of “attempting to cover-up his violations … by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the office of the commissioner’s investigation.”
Members of Rodriguez’s “inner circle” leaked the documents that implicated Cervelli and Braun, “60 Minutes” reported in August. A-Rod has denied the accusation.
“Obviously this is going to be a grueling process all the way through,” he said over the weekend. “This has been a burden. It’s been a big burden. So let’s get it on.”
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