NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — A member of Alex Rodriguez’s high-powered legal team says there’s “overwhelming” evidence the New York Yankees third baseman has avoided performance-enhancing drugs since his time with the Texas Rangers.
Joe Tacopina made the comments Friday morning on WFAN’s “Boomer & Carton” show.
“Alex Rodriguez was adamant that he had to be 100 percent clean as far as PEDs,” Tacopina said. “I will tell you that the evidence is overwhelming that he went out of his way to make sure he was taking (legal) nutritional supplements. Overwhelming. Two, three years of emails that we have. Overwhelming.”
But that evidence — should they choose to release it — may not see the light of day until next week. That’s when Tacopina & Co. plan to file an amendment to their complaint against MLB in court. He said there’s some information that can’t come out with the arbitration hearing “technically still open,” but there will be “plenty of other stuff.”
Tacopina said Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch, whose cooperation has been key to MLB’s case, touted himself as a “nutritional guru.”
“We have evidence — it came out in the hearing and I can’t go in detail on it — that Tony Bosch was discussing with others Alex’s nutritional supplementation, legal supplements, nothing to do with PEDs, with many other people,” he said. “So that’s what it was.”
Tacopina acknowledged the possibility of Rodriguez unknowingly taking a banned substance, but said it wasn’t the backbone of his defense.
“Here’s the thing: it would defy science then, because Alex would be either the luckiest man in the world or a scientific freak,” Tacopina said. “His testing results show he did not take PEDs.”
A-Rod’s grievance hearing to overturn his 211-game suspension ended Thursday when both sides rested their cases, a day after the player angrily walked out and decided not to testify in his own defense following arbitrator Fredric Horowitz’s refusal to force testimony from Commissioner Bud Selig.
Tacopina insisted during Friday’s interview, which at times turned testy, that A-Rod’s walk-out wasn’t planned.
“I personally assured Alex that the ruling would be in his favor, that Bud Selig would have to testify,” he said. “But not only me, the other lawyers, the union attorneys told him as well there’s no way Bug Selig is going to be kept off the witness stand.”
The sides set a schedule to file briefs and reply briefs next month, which will close the record and submit the matter to Horowitz.
His decision on whether to uphold or alter the discipline for the three-time AL MVP likely will be made in January, a person familiar with the proceedings told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
Rodriguez’s lawyers already are vowing to challenge the ruling in federal court, where judges usually are reticent to overturn an arbitration decision unless there is a finding the arbitrator was biased, exceeded his authority or failed to comply with the rules agreed to by the parties.
Tacopina was asked whether Rodriguez would accept a 50-game suspension, which would be in line with other first-time offenders under baseball’s drug policy.
“My opinion is he should fight it,” Tacopina told Boomer & Carton. “I don’t think on this evidence he should take one inning. I’ve told him that. I’ve said that before. Ultimately that’s Alex’s decision. There is some benefit to putting this all behind everyone.”