A-Rod sues MLB, union to overturn drug ban

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 13, 2014 at 7:37 pm •  Published: January 13, 2014
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Bosch agreed in June to cooperate with MLB and testified during the hearing, which ran from September until November. Rodriguez's lawyers attacked his credibility because of that deal, which included reimbursement by MLB for costs of lawyers, up to $2,400 daily for security, insulation from civil suits and a promise to tell law enforcement he was cooperative.

"The benefits accorded to Bosch under that arrangement did not involve inducements that the panel considers to be improper," wrote Horowitz, who chaired a three-man panel that included MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred and union General Counsel David Prouty.

Horowitz cited the credibility of Bosch's "unrebutted testimony — testimony which was corroborated by substantial documentary evidence," and he described how Bosch and Rodriguez communicated in code, referring to banned substances as "food."

"Once when Bosch sent a message telling Rodriguez that he was going to pick up Rodriguez's 'meds,' Rodriguez replied 'Not meds dude. Food,'" the arbitrator wrote.

Rodriguez did not testify in the grievance, walking out after Horowitz refused to order Selig to testify.

At a brief hearing Monday, MLB said it would not discipline Rodriguez for including the decision in his lawsuit. U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III brushed aside concerns from the union about confidentiality concerns.

"Given the intense public interest in this matter and Commissioner Selig's disclosures last night on '60 Minutes,' it's difficult to imagine that any portion of this proceeding should be under seal," Pauley said.

The arbitrator noted Bosch and Rodriguez exchanged 556 text messages and had 53 telephone calls in 2012. He said all records of text messages were produced by Bosch, while lawyers for Rodriguez said the Blackberry he used to communicate with Bosch was deactivated last March and Rodriguez no longer had it.

The arbitrator said Rodriguez instructed Bosch in one message to "erase all these messages."

Horowitz recounted how Rodriguez was introduced to Bosch after a Yankees game in Tampa, Fla., in July 2010 by A-Rod's cousin, Yuri Sucart, who knew Bosch through Jorge "Oggi" Velazquez.

Horowitz wrote MLB was justified in citing violations of the collective bargaining agreement because Rodriguez "played an active role in inducing Bosch to issue his own public denial on Jan. 29" and "attempted to induce Bosch to sign a sworn statement on May 31" saying he never supplied the player.

In determining the length of the penalty, Horowitz cited a 2008 decision in a grievance involving Neifi Perez in which arbitrator Shyam Das ruled "separate uses are subject to separate disciplines." He said under the discipline system for positive tests, Rodriguez would be subject to at least 150 games for three violations of 50 games. Still, Horowitz thought Selig's initial penalty was too severe.

"A suspension of one season satisfies the structures of just cause as commensurate with the severity of his violations," he wrote.

Rodriguez's lawyers claimed at worst the case should involve one first violation with a penalty of 50 games, and they said including the 2014 postseason was beyond the scope of Selig's original discipline. Horowitz rejected Rodriguez's argument that the lack of a positive test was proof of innocence.

"It is recognized Rodriguez passed 11 drug tests administered by MLB from 2010 through 2012. The assertion that Rodriguez would have failed those tests had he consumed those PES as alleged is not persuasive. As advanced as MLB's program has become, no drug-testing program will catch every player," Horowitz wrote.

In Selig's notice of discipline to Rodriguez on Aug. 5, he said MLB actively is investigating allegations he received banned substances in 2009 from Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty in 2011 to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada.

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Online:

Lawsuit and arbitrator's decision:

http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/_documents/ar_complaint.pdf