NEW YORK — Major League Baseball’s evidence against Alex Rodriguez is so weak he shouldn’t serve even one inning of his 211-game suspension, the lawyer for the Yankees slugger said Monday.
Joe Tacopina told NBC’s “Today” show that the case will “never stand up” in court or before an arbitrator. The league recently suspended Rodriguez, along with more than a dozen other players, for their relationship with a clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.
Rodriguez appealed the penalty and can play until there is a ruling. MLB’s case is based on evidence from Biogenesis clinic founder Anthony Bosch, who Tacopina said has “no credibility.”
“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 host Matt Lauer.
“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.”
Lauer asked Tacopina if A-Rod would have agreed to a 50-game ban, as 12 other players, including Seattle catcher Jesus Montero, did without appealing.
“If he listens to me, if I were advising him based on the evidence and based on what I know about the evidence,” Tacopina said, “I would tell him, ‘Don’t take one inning, Alex. Forget 50 games. Don’t take one inning.’”
Rodriguez and Yankees management have been feuding, too. The club still owes him more than $80 million through 2017.
Tacopina said the Yankees concealed results of an October MRI from Rodriguez that showed he had a torn hip socket. He played poorly and was benched in a postseason series against Detroit. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team’s medical personnel “did everything they possibly can to assist Alex.”
Cashman said Rodriguez never complained of any problem during the playoffs until manager Joe Girardi pulled him for a pinch-hitter in a key spot.
“Did he ever say he didn’t feel right? He never said it,” the GM said.
“You see the attorney say what he said and Alex is talking to you guys after the game and it seems like when I’m reading the comments, it’s like, `I can’t really comment.’ It’s as if he doesn’t know anything about it, which we all know he really does,” Cashman said Sunday.
Asked why the Yankees would keep the MRI results from Rodriguez, Tacopina suggested it could be because they wanted to make Rodriguez into a “scapegoat.”
“I don’t understand why,” Tacopina said. “I don’t understand the motivation behind it.”
The lawyer said the MRI was done Oct. 11, after Game 4 of the Yankees’ series against Baltimore in the first round. The three-time AL MVP went 3-for-25 with 12 strikeouts in the 2012 postseason, and the Yankees were swept in the ALCS by the Tigers.
This season, the 38-year-old Rodriguez was sidelined by a hip injury and quadriceps problem until he made his season debut Aug. 5 — the same day MLB handed down his suspension.
Rodriguez is hitting .319 with two homers and six RBI this season. He went 3-for-4 with a solo homer in the Yankees’ 9-6 win over the Red Sox on Sunday night.
After the game, Rodriguez said he had started the process of filing a grievance against the Yankees and that it’s the responsibility of the players’ union to file it formally.