A-Rod leaves grievance hearing

Updated: November 20, 2013, 5:58 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- A-Rod has left the building.

Alex Rodriguez stormed out of his own grievance hearing Wednesday after arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled that commissioner Bud Selig did not have to testify before the embattled slugger's attorneys.

Rodriguez slammed his hand on a table at Major League Baseball's Manhattan Park Avenue offices and cursed at MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred, a source with knowledge of the proceedings told ESPNNewYork.com.

Horowitz was in the midst of the 12th day of hearings Wednesday on the grievance filed by the players' association to overturn the 211-game suspension given to the New York Yankees third baseman by MLB last summer for alleged violations of the sport's drug agreement and labor contract.

"This is ridiculous!" Rodriguez is said to have shouted after Horowitz issued his ruling shortly before noon.

Rodriguez then pointed a finger at Manfred, who directed MLB's investigation into the since-shuttered Biogenesis clinic suspected of being a source of illegal performance-enhancing drugs for ballplayers, and said "This is f---ing bulls---!" Another source said earlier that Rodriguez cursed directly at Manfred.

Rodriguez attorneys David Cornwell and Jordan Siev remained in the hearing room and entered into the record that they believe the hearing is "an unfair process," according to a source.

It was unclear whether the hearing will continue.

After walking out, Rodriguez issued a statement through his spokesman.

"I am disgusted with this abusive process, designed to ensure that the player fails," the statement said. "I have sat through 10 days of testimony by felons and liars, sitting quietly through every minute, trying to respect the league and the process. This morning, after Bud Selig refused to come in and testify about his rationale for the unprecedented and totally baseless punishment he hit me with, the arbitrator selected by MLB and the players' association refused to order Selig to come in and face me.

"The absurdity and injustice just became too much. I walked out and will not participate any further in this farce."

Manfred, Selig and Joseph Tacopina, Rodriguez's lead attorney, were not immediately available for comment.

"We don't know what we're going to do," a spokesman for Rodriguez said. "The fight's still going on, but most likely it's going to end up in federal court."

MLB issued a statement later Wednesday, saying it "remains committed" to the hearing.

"For more than 40 years, Major League Baseball and the players' association have had a contractual grievance process to address disputes between the two parties," the statement said. "This negotiated process has served players and clubs well. Despite Mr. Rodriguez being upset with one of the arbitration panel's rulings today, Major League Baseball remains committed to this process and to a fair resolution of the pending dispute."

Rodriguez was suspended Aug. 5 for alleged violations of the sport's drug agreement and labor contract, and the players' union filed the grievance to overturn the penalty. Under baseball's drug agreement, he was allowed to continue playing while contesting the discipline.

The three-time American League MVP said four years ago he used PEDs while with the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003, but he has denied using them since.

At the time of his suspension, MLB said the penalty was for "use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone over the course of multiple years" and for "engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the office of the commissioner's investigation."

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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