Sick Alex Rodriguez won't interview

Updated: November 15, 2013, 10:18 AM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez will not appear for an investigatory interview with Major League Baseball investigators Friday in Manhattan and might choose not to testify at all before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz in his appeal of the 211-game suspension handed down by the league in August for alleged performance-enhancing drug violations.

According to a source, Rodriguez is suffering from flu-like symptoms and was advised by a doctor in Los Angeles, where he has been since Tuesday, not to fly to New York.

"The guy really wants to testify," the source told ESPNNewYork.com on Thursday night. "He's dying to tell his side of the story. But his head is all clogged up right now."

A spokesman for commissioner Bud Selig said via text message he was not sure whether Rodriguez would reschedule the interview.

"We'll see [Friday]," the spokesman said.

Rodriguez and his attorneys have been considering putting the disgraced New York Yankees slugger on the stand before Horowitz to deny MLB's charges that he obtained and used illegal PEDs from Anthony Bosch, the proprietor of Biogenesis, the defunct South Florida anti-aging clinic.

But over the past few days, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPNNewYork.com there was trepidation about Rodriguez testifying for fear that the league could bring further discipline against him if investigators found him to be lying.

According to one source, that discipline could be as much as an additional 100 games of suspension if the league determined that Rodriguez was dishonest in his testimony.

A person with intimate knowledge of Rodriguez's strategy told ESPNNewYork.com on Wednesday that Rodriguez intended to deny in his testimony ever having obtained or used illegal substances from Bosch. Another source said MLB intended to question Rodriguez about any past use of human growth hormone as well, which could allow baseball to renew its efforts to make public Rodriguez's sealed testimony before a Buffalo grand jury in the 2010 case of Dr. Anthony Galea, a Toronto-based sports doctor who admitted to smuggling HGH into the United States.

Baseball investigators also were expected to quiz Rodriguez about his interview with them in July, when he allegedly "took the fifth" when asked about his involvement with Bosch and Biogenesis.

On Wednesday, a source involved in the case put the chances of Rodriguez appearing for an investigatory interview Friday at "60-40," and said that even if he did submit to that informal session, he might decide not to testify before Horowitz.

"I'd say there's about a 75 percent chance" Rodriguez would testify, the source said.

Rodriguez's testimony certainly would be the highlight of the week when the hearing resumes Monday at the Park Avenue offices of Major League Baseball. But he would be just one of dozens of witnesses expected to be called by his attorneys when they begin presenting their case. Among the names on the extensive witness list are Selig and Yankees team physician Chris Ahmad, both of whom are being sued by Rodriguez, and Yankees team president Randy Levine, whom the Rodriguez side has accused of working in collusion with Selig to run Rodriguez out of baseball and thus rid the club of its remaining four-year contractual obligation to him, which could cost the Yankees more than $100 million.

According to one of the sources, the presentation of Rodriguez's side of the case is expected to take more than five days, and baseball has said the hearing will continue through the following weekend if necessary. After all the evidence is presented, Horowitz has 25 days to render his decision.

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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