- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball filed a motion to move Alex Rodriguez's lawsuit against the league and commissioner Bud Selig to a federal court with the hope that a judge will eventually decide to dismiss the case.
The motion, filed Monday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, requests the federal court to take the lawsuit. MLB believes a federal judge would rule that Rodriguez is bound by the collective bargaining agreement to pursue his appeal through the arbitration process.
In the notice for removal, filed with the court, it states, "The Basic Agreement contains an exclusive grievance and arbitration provision (Article XI). The Joint Drug Agreement specifically provides that disputes arising thereunder shall be subject to resolution through the Grievance Procedure of the Basic Agreement, with certain enumerated exceptions that must be resolved pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Joint Drug Agreement. Both agreements provide for the resolution of disputes through private final and binding arbitration."
Rodriguez's lawyers disagreed with MLB's interpretation and did not like how they first heard about them.
"As is its practice, MLB has chosen to share its filing with the press well before sending it to Mr. Rodriguez's legal team," Joe Tacopina, one of A-Rod's lawyers, said in a statement. "Nonetheless, Mr. Rodriguez's claims against MLB and Commissioner [Bud] Selig arise from their tortious conduct, separate and apart from the issues being decided in the arbitration process. It is ironic that MLB -- having filed suit in state court in Florida for tortious interference in order to obtain evidence to use in the arbitration proceeding -- now complains that Mr. Rodriguez's tortious interference claim must be heard as part of the arbitration. MLB knows that these state law claims properly belong where they were filed, in the New York State Court."
The appeal of Rodriguez's 211-game suspension for violations of the joint drug agreement and the CBA began last week in front of arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. To accommodate Horowitz's schedule, MLB and Rodriguez's lawyers are expected to continue next week in Manhattan. Once the hearings conclude, Horowitz -- who is the independent arbitrator on the three-man panel -- is expected to decide within 25 days.
The New York Daily News earlier reported MLB's motion was filed.
On Friday, Rodriguez filed his suit against MLB. The 31-page lawsuit levels a series of charges at Selig and MLB, including the allegation that the commissioner has violated the collective bargaining agreement to "make an example of Mr. Rodriguez ... to gloss over Selig's past inaction and tacit approval of the use of performance enhancing substances in baseball ... in an attempt to secure his legacy as the 'savior' of America's pastime."
On Friday, Rodriguez filed a second suit against Yankees' team doctor, Chris Ahmad, as well as New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center over a hip injury he suffered last season. The Yankees were not named in either suit.