Lawyer: MLB pursued Alex Rodriguez ‘at all costs’

NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez’s legal team has gathered extensive additional evidence since he filed a lawsuit accusing Major League Baseball and commissioner Bud Selig of trying to polish their images and destroy the third baseman’s career and reputation, his lawyer said Thursday.

At a Manhattan federal court hearing, attorney Jordan Siev said his law office has gotten more evidence nearly every day to support its lawsuit accusing MLB and Selig of going on a “witch hunt” to ruin Rodriguez’s reputation and career. He said the defendants went “way over the line.”

He said evidence will prove that MLB and Selig engaged in behavior that subjects them to civil, “if not criminal,” liability. The New York Yankees star did not attend the hearing.

MLB attorney Joseph Baumgarten responded by calling the lawsuit “inappropriate.” He said the defendants will seek its dismissal.

“It doesn’t belong in federal court,” he said. Both sides were scheduled to file papers in the case on Friday. A hearing was scheduled for Jan. 23.

Siev is seeking to move the case back to state court, where it was originally filed.

At one point, U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield noted: “It’s ironic. Neither side wants to be here, but you’re both here.”

Baumgarten made little mention of Rodriguez’s allegations, but Siev used the public forum to lash out at the league and Selig.

He said baseball’s investigation had a “sole purpose of destroying Rodriguez’s career and reputation” and was designed “to get Mr. Rodriguez at all costs in an effort to salvage Mr. Selig’s reputation as he heads toward retirement.”

Siev said Selig “saw this as an opportunity to bring down one of the biggest players in the game.”

The lawyer recounted some highlights of the lawsuit, including allegations that the league intimidated and offered cash to witnesses, purchased documents and allowed one of its investigators to engage in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a witness. He said the league made sure to leak information about the investigation to the press along the way.

Outside court, lawyers declined to comment.

The litigation comes after Rodriguez was given a 211-game suspension by the league on Aug. 5 for alleged violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract.

Rodriguez also is challenging the suspension.

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