NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A member of Alex Rodriguez’s high-powered legal team says the New York Yankees slugger has “absolutely not” taken performance-enhancing drugs in the recent past.
And he’s disputing that Major League Baseball has any evidence otherwise in its effort to suspend A-Rod 211 games under the joint drug agreement for his ties to Biogenesis, the shuttered anti-aging clinic accused of distributing PEDs.
A-Rod’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, made the comments to CNN this week before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz put the kibosh on publicly discussing the case.
MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred labeled Tacopina’s statement as “inaccurate,” according to Newsday.
Rodriguez admitted in 2009 to using PEDs from 2001-03 while playing for the Texas Rangers. He was linked to the Biogenesis clinic and its operator, Anthony Bosch, in a bombshell Miami New Times report in January.
“When I did something wrong, I came forward, I admitted it,” A-Rod recently said, a source told Newsday. “That should be enough for right now. People should understand that.”
Baseball handed down its punishment in early August after a lengthy investigation, which included Bosch’s cooperation. Tacopina accused the league of utilizing “shocking and deplorable” investigative methods.
“The things that they have done, the lines that they have crossed, the laws that they have ignored, the ethical violations that have been committed by members of the legal team,” he told CNN. “It’s disheartening because Major League Baseball is supposed to be the pinnacle of a sports organization in this country.”
A-Rod was given a 211-game ban. Twelve other players accepted 50-game suspensions. Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun served 65 games.
Rodriguez has brushed off questions about whether he received PEDs from Biogenesis, saying he’d have the opportunity to tell his story in due time.
“Rodriguez’s discipline under the joint drug prevention and treatment program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years,” MLB said in a statement on Aug. 5. “Rodriguez’s discipline under the basic agreement is for attempting to cover-up his violations of the program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation.”
Rodriguez was the only player to appeal his suspension. A ruling isn’t expected until well into the offseason.
Tacopina admitted to CNN in August that A-Rod had a “consulting relationship” with Bosch and Biogenesis. Rodriguez initially denied all ties to the clinic.
“I mean, Biogenesis, that lab has consulted with many professional athletes,” Tacopina said. “Not every single one of those athletes has been accused of or found guilty of using illegal substances.”
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