NEW YORK » 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 New York Yankees star.
MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred wrote to lawyer Joseph Tacopina today, 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, Marion Jones and others.
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. They know full well that they have to address the letter to the MLBPA and such a waiver would require the MLBAPA to be party of the agreement and signatures. It’s nothing but a theatrical trap hoping I would sign knowing that I couldn’t and in fact would have me breaching the JDA agreement if I did."
The union didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
A three-time AL MVP, Rodriguez is playing pending his appeal, which is not expected to be decided by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz until at least November.
"I know the evidence against Alex Rodriguez, and I will tell you this: It will never stand up in a court of law or in an arbitration-panel courtroom. Never," Tacopina told NBC.
"Alex Rodriguez, when we confront this evidence, will have been found not responsible to the point where he shouldn’t serve one inning of a suspension as opposed to 211 games," Tacopina said. "I know the evidence in this case."
Rodriguez is among 14 players disciplined by MLB this summer following its Biogenesis investigation. Former NL MVP Ryan Braun accepted a 65-game suspension and 12 players agreed to 50-game penalties.
"If he listens to me, if I were advising him based on the evidence and based on what I know about the evidence," Tacopina told NBC, "I would tell him, ‘Don’t take one inning, Alex. Forget 50 games. Don’t take one inning.’"