A-Rod lawyer: MLB short on evidence

Updated: August 18, 2013, 8:24 AM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

BOSTON -- The lawyer for Alex Rodriguez alleged that Major League Baseball will not have enough proof to uphold the New York Yankees third baseman's 211-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy because its star witness will not be around to testify.

A-Rod is appealing the ban.

"Where are they putting forth the evidence?" Joe Tacopina told ESPNNewYork.com on Saturday. "Anthony Bosch, who is either going to be in federal prison or is going to be in a federal investigation and is going to assert the Fifth Amendment? Believe me, I want nothing more than to cross examine Bosch. I would love to. I would do it for free. I won't bill Alex for that. I won't bill Alex for the opportunity to cross examine Bosch because he is not going to show up."

Bosch, the Biogenesis founder, was the central figure in MLB's ability to suspend 13 players, including Ryan Braun, for PED use without any positive tests.

Bosch has drawn the attention of Jeff Novitzky, the Food and Drug Administration agent who led the federal criminal investigation of Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, Roger Clemens and Lance Armstrong, a source told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" earlier this month. The Miami Herald has reported that the U.S. Attorney's Office opened an investigation into Bosch and is seeking to talk with former Biogenesis employee Porter Fischer, who leaked the initial documents to the Miami New Times. Bosch reportedly was distributing PEDs to teenagers.

Rodriguez's arbitration hearing is not expected to take place until after the regular season.

Tacopina accused MLB of acting like "thugs" during its investigation.

"They are threatening people if they don't speak to MLB; they will refer them to law enforcement," Tacopina said. "A lawyer can't do that. That is what Major League Baseball lawyers have done here, telling witnesses that they will expose them to the media if they don't speak to them. We have a videotape of MLB investigators flashing badges into a gated community to try and find a witness. That is illegal. Why they are acting the way they are acting, I don't know. Why do they think it is OK to tell mom and dad that, 'We're sorry Mr. Bosch injected your minor, your son with narcotics, controlled substances? We are going to tell the federal prosecutors that he has been a really good guy that he helped us get some baseball players so you shouldn't prosecute him.' That's the deal that they made with this guy."

MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred said the league has done nothing improper in its investigation and that Rodriguez and his lawyers are trying to distract from the real issue of whether or not Rodriguez took PEDs.

"Everything that Alex Rodriguez and his lawyers are putting out there has nothing to do with what this entire matter is about -- that is did he or did he not use performance-enhancing substances in violations of baseball's policy repeatedly?" Manfred told ESPNNewYork.com. "For all the stuff that this guy wants to talk about, the point is none of it is about [whether he] used performance drugs or not."

Tacopina said he would love to talk about the facts of the case, but can't because of the joint drug agreement between MLB and the players' association. He did, however, propose a solution.

"I would love nothing more than to sit here and be able to talk about Alex's testing results and MLB allegations and MLB's investigation into Biogenesis as it relates to Alex and specific dates and specific tests," Tacopina said. "Nothing more, but there is a confidentially clause of the JDA. I will make Manfred a deal if he, in writing, waives the confidentially clause, and agrees that it would not be a breach of the confidentially clause, if he allows us to discuss exactly what he wants us to discuss, including the testing result, including the specifics of the tests, the results, we would be happy to discuss it. It would be my pleasure to discuss it. I would love to discuss it. But the minute I discuss it, I'm in violation of the confidentially clause of the JDA. Unlike them, I'm not going to hide behind some anonymous source leaking stuff that is in violation of the confidentially clause like they have done from Day 1."

Said Manfred: "Everything we did in this investigation we did, we stand behind. Point two: Everything we did was in attempt to discover illegal activities that were in violation of our collective bargaining agreement. Third point: The things that Mr. Rodriguez and his representatives did were done in order to obstruct that effort."

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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