At this hour, and really there's no sense in committing beyond that, Alex Rodriguez is in Los Angeles, and sick. "Awful," he specifically said in an email. Tony Bosch is in Florida waiting out a federal grand jury investigation. Major League Baseball lawyers are in New York preparing for arbitration hearings and trying to drag Rodriguez's former public relations team into those hearings. Rodriguez's team has joined that fight (on the side of his former public relations firm), as MLB wants to know if Rodriguez or his associates leaked Biogenesis documents to the media.
Rodriguez's career may very well be at stake, and you may have noticed the tenor of his defense has reflected that. Commissioner Bud Selig suspended Rodriguez for 211 games, Rodriguez appealed, and the case (and the acrimony) has skittered across independent arbitrator Frederic Horowitz's calendar for a good six weeks. Hearings are expected to resume Monday morning at MLB headquarters on Park Avenue, but that's at this hour.
There was some expectation that Rodriguez would testify next week, but that was on the condition he first answer questions from MLB on Friday. (Rodriguez refused to cooperate with MLB investigators in July. This, according to Horowitz, would set that right.) The meeting – set to take place at Players' Association headquarters in New York – was scuttled late Thursday night, when MLB officials were notified Rodriguez had fallen ill. He did not board his flight to New York as a result. MLB lawyers do not know if Rodriguez will submit to their questioning, or if he will testify in the hearings. An email asking Rodriguez's spokesperson if it had been determined whether Rodriguez intended to do either was answered, "Not yet."
Meanwhile, MLB on Friday received its witness list from Team A-Rod. It is not known if commissioner Bud Selig, New York Yankees president Randy Levine or Rodriguez is on that list. And it is not known how long Rodriguez's lawyers will require to present their case, though Horowitz apparently has cleared his schedule through Thanksgiving. MLB, Rodriguez's lawyers and Horowitz were, as of Friday evening, debating whether each person on the witness list should be required to testify. For one, MLB would argue that COO Rob Manfred, by terms of the CBA, represents Selig in such matters.
On Tuesday, a federal court will hear arguments from all sides – MLB, Rodriguez and the public relations firm Sitrick and Company – over allegations Rodriguez or his representatives acquired Biogenesis documents, and if they did, whether those were leaked to the media. The questions are central to MLB's belief Rodriguez obtained the un-redacted documents in order to obstruct its investigation, perhaps by destroying the evidence.
MLB subpoenaed Michael Sitrick, chairman of the PR firm that once was employed by Rodriguez. The firm has argued attorney-client privilege, as it was actually retained by Roy Black, Rodriguez's former attorney.
Further, MLB itself foiled a Florida Department of Health (FDH) investigation into Bosch and Biogenesis, according to ESPN, by purchasing documents intended for the FDH. According to news reports and accusations by Rodriguez's camp, MLB knew the documents were stolen when it bought them.
MLB denies the accusations. Still, Jordan Siev, one of Rodriguez's attorneys, said in a statement Friday, "Today's report from ESPN's ‘Outside the Lines' confirms what Mr. Rodriguez alleged in his lawsuit against MLB and Commissioner Selig over a month ago – that MLB investigators knowingly purchased stolen documents in their quest to allow Commissioner Selig to act, for the first time, as if he was tough on PED use in baseball despite striking a cooperation deal with Anthony Bosch, who MLB knows is under federal investigation for providing steroids to minors."
Bosch has been accused of supplying performance-enhancing drugs – HGH, testosterone and, according to the Miami New Times, "steroid concoctions" – to high school athletes.
Bosch, MLB's key witness, is not expected to have to testify again in Rodriguez's arbitration hearings. Not as of this hour.
- Alex Rodriguez