NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Alex Rodriguez says his season-long suspension could be considered “a favor” despite filing a lawsuit against Major League Baseball and its players’ union in an attempt to overturn the punishment.
The New York Yankees third baseman spoke for the first time Wednesday since an independent arbitrator reduced his ban to 162 games — plus the entire 2014 postseason — over the weekend. He was originally suspended 211 games in MLB’s investigation into Biogenesis.
Rodriguez, who denies taking performance-enhancing drugs from the clinic, is challenging the decision in federal court.
“I think that in the year 2014, the league could have done me a favor because I’ve played 20 years without a timeout,” A-Rod said during an appearance in Mexico City, as translated by ESPN. “I think 2014 will be a year to rest, mentally, physically prepare myself for the future and begin a new chapter of my life.”
But A-Rod’s actions tell a much different story. He sued his own union on Monday, claiming the MLBPA “engaged in numerous acts that were arbitrary, capricious, and taken in bad faith.” Meanwhile, his lawyers insist Rodriguez intends to show up at spring training next month in Tampa.
“It’s a very sad story,” Rodriguez said. “And we hope we can take it out of the newspapers and I hope we can start concentrating on all the good things the big league is doing with all the young players moving forward.”
Has Rodriguez, who famously said he shouldn’t serve a single inning, accepted his fate? Maybe, but it doesn’t mean he’s ready to give up the fight, according to his spokesman.
“This process has been taxing both mentally and physically throughout the past eight months,” Ron Berkowitz said in a statement Thursday. “Alex will abide by the rulings of the federal judge — whatever he decides — and get ready for 2015 should the judge rule against him. He will continue to move forward with his complaint which will help all players against this unfair system.”
A-Rod said he’s received support from his New York teammates, as well as “retired players and players that are in the Hall of Fame.” On Wednesday, Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner called Rodriguez “a great player” and an “asset,” but wouldn’t comment on whether the third baseman will be welcome back in 2015.
Rodriguez will forfeit the majority of his $25 million salary if he remains suspended. He’s due $61 million from 2015-17 plus bonuses depending on his ascension on the all-time home runs list.
“I have three years left on my contract starting in 2015 and I hope to play very well and finish my career in New York,” Rodriguez said.
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