Alex Rodriguez back at MLB offices

Updated: November 18, 2013, 9:08 PM ET
By Matt Ehalt | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez returned, but without the fanfare.

The embattled New York Yankees third baseman was back at Major League Baseball's offices on Park Avenue on Monday as the arbitration hearing regarding the 211-game suspension baseball levied against him resumed. The hearing took a month recess after its last session Oct. 18.

Rodriguez briefly spoke after arriving around 9 a.m. ET, but he left via a side exit around 6 p.m. without comment. Reporters were stationed in front of the building waiting for him. Attorney Joe Tacopina was not with Rodriguez when he arrived.

"I'm excited to get back in there," Rodriguez said in the morning.

Noticeably absent Monday were the Rodriguez supporters from Hispanics Across America, who last month lined the streets outside the building cheering for him and displaying signs bashing MLB commissioner Bud Selig, Yankees president Randy Levine and others.

HAA executive director Sergio Rodriguez said in an email that the lack of a presence wasn't due to waning support.

"HAA fully supports Alex Rodriguez as he fights MLB. We have been there since day one for him and will continue to be there as long as this process takes," he said. "Our absence at Park Ave today is not an indication of our support wavering but it's more an indication that we are involved in other issues within our community at the moment."

Sergio Rodriguez said HAA will be there Thursday at 10 a.m.

Alex Rodriguez might testify this week as he fights the suspension that would force him to miss the 2014 season. Sources told ESPNNewYork.com that there is some hesitation in having Rodriguez testify for fear it could lead to a stiffer ban if it's found he is lying.

Rodriguez's camp has started presenting its case and is expected to call upon witnesses. Names on the witness list include Selig, Levine and Yankees team physician Chris Ahmad. Rodriguez is suing Selig and Ahmad.

"I'd say there's about a 75 percent chance [Rodriguez will testify]," a source told ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews.

The third baseman did not interview with MLB investigators Friday as he was suffering from flu-like symptoms, a source told ESPNNewYork.com. The hearing could extend into next week, and arbitrator Fredric Horowitz will have 25 days to render a decision after the hearing concludes.

Rodriguez was suspended 211 games in August for allegedly violating baseball's performance-enhancing drug policy. Rodriguez appealed the suspension and played out the remainder of the season. Whether the suspension is upheld will play a huge role in what the Yankees do in free agency as they aim to get their payroll under $189 million for luxury-tax purposes. If Rodriguez is suspended, his money will not count on the team's payroll for the upcoming year.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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