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Attorney: A-Rod will not report to spring training

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

Alex Rodriguez caught us a bit off guard on Friday when he voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit against Major League Baseball, the player's union and Commissioner Bud Selig. Now, in another sign that A-Rod has truly accepted his fate and may be prepared to move forward with his life as something other than a distraction, his attorney Joe Tacopina announced he will not report to spring training with the New York Yankees next week.

Is this really happening? Rodriguez, who is still under contract to the Yankees and will be for three years following his suspension, could have caused quite a scene and a thorough review of baseball's Basic Agreement had he elected to report. But rather than bringing a media circus to the Yankees spring training facility — or at least making his employers squirm in their seats for the next few days by withholding his decision — he's graciously stepping aside and allowing them to go about their business.

That's quite a turn of events, wouldn't you say? Either Rodriguez turned over a new leaf in the past few days, or someone in his inner-circle finally realized the road they were taking was only going to lead to a quicker and more definitive exit from baseball.

At this point, it may be too late to salvage what's left of his career anyway, but accepting some responsibility and quietly moving out of the way gives him his best shot. The last thing the Yankees or baseball wanted was an unnecessary headache that lingers into the season, so he's at least cured that.

Of course, there are still ways for A-Rod to create headaches down the road. Since his lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed, he holds the option to refile. But the early feeling is he's really ready to move on and allow the 2014 season to play out without his dark cloud hovering over it.

If so, we'll owe him a thank you, if only because he held the power to take the season hostage and distract from other newsworthy events that will occur on the field. The field is where everybody wants the focus to be, and there's a much better chance it will hold our attention if A-Rod truly removes himself from the landscape.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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