- Wallace Matthews, ESPNNewYork.com
- 0 Shares
NEW YORK -- Sources familiar with the strategy to be employed by Alex Rodriguez in his appeal of a 211-game suspension strongly denied a report alleging that the New York Yankees third baseman would claim he had been duped by Anthony Bosch into believing he was taking legal supplements.
"We cannot provide any details of this hearing, as the chair of the arbitration panel has issued an order prohibiting all parties from commenting publicly on the confidential proceedings, but what is being reported is not true," said a statement issued Wednesday by Ron Berkowitz, Rodriguez's publicist.
The first two days of proceedings at Major League Baseball's headquarters on Park Avenue were dominated by MLB presenting its case against Rodriguez, who was suspended in August for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. Baseball's case included the testimony of Bosch, the proprietor of the now-defunct Coral Gables, Fla., anti-aging clinic.
But a source told ESPNNewYork.com that Rodriguez's lawyers had yet to present any arguments or evidence beyond an opening statement and instead were expected to begin cross-examination of Bosch on Wednesday afternoon.
The New York Daily News reported Wednesday that Rodriguez's attorneys "have presented a case based partly" on the claim that the three-time MVP believed the supplements he received from Biogenesis were legal. The hearing before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz initially was expected to last through the rest of the week.
Rodriguez left MLB's headquarters at 5:47 p.m. ET and signed autographs for 10 minutes before getting into a black SUV.
Asked by the assembled media how things went in the proceedings, both Rodriguez and his attorney Joseph Tacopina said, "Good."
Bosch left at 6:15 p.m. According to a source who spoke with ESPNNewYork.com on condition of anonymity, the cross-examination of Bosch by Tacopina has not started yet and it's unlikely that the hearing will be finished by Friday.
Rodriguez was suspended Aug. 5 for alleged violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract. Because he's a first-time offender under the drug program and the players' association filed a grievance to force an appeal, a suspension can't start until it is upheld by an arbitrator.
The union argues the discipline is without just cause and is excessive. If the case doesn't settle, a decision by Horowitz is expected this winter.
Rodriguez was among 14 players penalized by MLB this year following the sport's investigation of Biogenesis, which is accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. The others accepted their penalties, including 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun, who missed the season's final 65 games.
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Mike Mazzeo and The Associated Press was used in this report.
4hAdam Lewis, Special to ESPN.com