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A federal judge denied Major League Baseball's request to hold Alex Rodriguez's former public relations representative in contempt of court on Friday.
The decision could benefit the New York Yankees third baseman in his fight against the 211-game suspension imposed this summer by MLB for his link to performance-enhancing drugs and the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in south Florida at the center of an investigation.
Manhattan Federal Judge Edgardo Ramos granted a stay to Michael Sitrick, who formerly handled Rodriguez's PR. The ruling applies to the judge's Nov. 22 order to honor an MLB subpoena and appear before the independent arbitrator who will determine the ban.
In addition, Ramos rejected MLB's request to hold Sitrick in contempt of court and fine him.
"It would be unseemly and unruly to hold him in contempt while he pursues his public right to appeal," Ramos said of Sitrick.
The judge's ruling impacts baseball's pursuit of Rodriguez because the Second Circuit Court of Appeals is not likely to issue a ruling before the independent arbitrator, Fredric Horowitz, decides on the suspension as expected in early to mid-January.
"Mr. Sitrick believes the commissioner (Bud Selig) filed the contempt motion and sought sanctions as a means to generate publicity -- in an attempt to pressure Mr. Sitrick to agree to voluntarily answer questions, which he has a right not to do," Sitrick's attorneys wrote.