NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez’s grievance hearing to overturn his 211-game suspension ended Thursday after 12 days of sessions, a day after the New York Yankees third baseman angrily walked out and decided not to testify in his own defense.
Rodriguez’s lawyers returned to Major League Baseball’s office for what turned out to be the final day of the proceeding before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. By the end of the day, both sides had rested their cases, a person familiar with the proceeding told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
The next step is for the sides to submit briefs to Horowitz, which will complete the record. The arbitrator then will decide whether to sustain or alter the suspension given to Rodriguez by MLB on Aug. 5 for alleged violations of baseball’s drug policy and labor agreement.
A three-time AL MVP, Rodriguez left in the middle of the 11th session Wednesday, furious Horowitz refused to order baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to testify. The move, followed by angry statements accusing Selig of bias and the entire arbitration process of flaws, appeared to be a prelude to a lawsuit challenging whatever ruling Horowitz makes.
Outside MLB’s offices Thursday, representatives of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, including state Sen. Ruben Diaz, held a prayer vigil to express opposition to Rodriguez’s discipline.
Rodriguez lawyer James McCarroll issued a statement Thursday pointing out that this case is the first grievance under the drug agreement involving discipline that didn’t stem from a positive test and involved “the commissioner’s discretion and decision-making.” While he said the commissioner in the past “was harshly criticized in the arbitrator’s decision for not voluntarily appearing at a grievance,” that statement appears to refer to arbitrator George Nicolau’s 1987 decision cutting Peter Ueberroth’s suspension of pitcher LaMarr Hoyt from one season to 60 days.