Notebook: Alex Rodriguez declines challenge by MLB

Alex Rodriguez is playing pending his appeal, which is not expected to be decided until at least November.
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press
Alex Rodriguez is playing pending his appeal, which is not expected to be decided until at least November.

A lawyer for Alex Rodriguez declined Major League Baseball’s challenge to make public the evidence that led to the 211-game suspension of the Yankees star.

MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred wrote to lawyer Joseph Tacopina on Monday, urging him to waive his client’s confidentiality under baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement so the documents could be released. Tacopina had said he wanted to discuss evidence publicly but was constrained by the provision.

‘‘We will agree to waive those provisions as they apply to both Rodriguez and the office of commissioner of baseball with respect to Rodriguez’s entire history under the program, including, but not limited to, his testing history, test results, violations of the program, and all information and evidence relating to Rodriguez’s treatment by Anthony Bosch, Anthony Galea and Victor Conte,’’ Manfred wrote in the letter, which was released by MLB.


Bosch was head of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. Galea pleaded guilty two years ago to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada. Conte was head of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, the target of a federal investigation that led to criminal charges against Barry Bonds and others.

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Manfred proposed that both sides disclose information and documents relating to: All drug tests that were conducted on Rodriguez under the program and their results; all prior violations of the program committed by Rodriguez; and all documents relating to the issue of whether Rodriguez obstructed the office of the commissioner’s investigation.

Tacopina, a lawyer with one of the four firms representing Rodriguez, said the players’ association would have to agree to waive confidentiality.

‘‘The letter was nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt,’’ Tacopina said in a statement. ‘‘The letter that was addressed to my law office with the words ‘Via Hand Delivery’ on top was in fact never delivered to my office but was instead given to the ‘Today’ show, which in and of itself is yet another violation of the confidentiality clause of the JDA . . . It’s nothing but a theatrical trap.”

The union didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.


Rodriguez is playing pending his appeal, which is not expected to be decided until at least November.

Rodriguez made his season debut Aug. 5, the same day his suspension was announced. He had been sidelined since left hip surgery in January and his return was delayed by a leg injury in July.

Tacopina claims an Oct. 11 MRI revealed the left hip injury. The Yankees maintain Rodriguez complained then only of a problem with his right hip.

Rodriguez said Sunday he asked the union to file a grievance over his medical treatment. That likely will not be part of the drug appeal.

Braun faces lawsuit

A former college classmate sued Ryan Braun, saying the Brewers slugger sought his help in fighting a failed drug test, balked on paying him, and then disparaged him when asked why their friendship soured.


Ralph Sasson, a Milwaukee law student, said Braun’s agent hired him in November 2011 to do legal research aimed at clearing Braun after the just-minted NL MVP tested positive for steroid use. The agent later asked him to investigate the man who collected Braun’s urine, Dino Laurenzi Jr., and Braun personally asked him to prank call two journalists working on a story about the failed test, according to the lawsuit filed last month in Milwaukee County court.

Braun was the first baseball player to successfully challenge a drug-related penalty in a grievance. He accepted a longer, 65-game suspension last month amid reports of ties to the Biogenesis case.

Sasson said the initial deal called for him to be paid $2,000 for his research and $5,000 if Braun was exonerated. But Braun and his agent, Onesimo Balelo, balked at paying him the full amount after a baseball arbitrator overturned the left fielder’s 50-game suspension in February 2012. Sasson eventually got paid, but he said his relationship with Braun soured and Braun lied when asked why, according to the lawsuit.

Sasson is seeking more than $10,000 for defamation and emotional distress.

Pujols’s year over

The Angels announced slugger Albert Pujols is done for the season because of an injured left foot. Pujols hasn’t played since July 26. He had been saying he wanted to return when his partially torn plantar fascia healed. Pujols, 33, is in the second season of his $240 million, 10-year contract. He finished the year with a .258 average, 17 homers, and 64 RBIs — all career lows for the three-time NL MVP . . . The Nationals acquired outfielder David DeJesus in a trade with the Cubs. Chicago will receive a player to be named. The Cubs also save about $2.5 million, including $1.5 million to buy out a 2014 option for $6.5 million. DeJesus didn’t have to go far to join his new team, with Washington opening a four-game series at Chicago Monday night . . . Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter hit in his first simulated game since going on the disabled list this month with a strained right calf. Jeter also showed improved mobility during infield drills in Tampa but did not run the bases.