Alex Rodriguez’s appeal of Major League Baseball’s 211-game suspension began Monday with an eight-hour session at the league’s offices in Manhattan.
Rodriguez was smiling when he left the arbitration hearing at 5:58 p.m. with his lawyer, Joe Tacopina, who quickly ushered him into a waiting car. Tacopina was asked how the meeting went and responded, “Very well.”
Rodriguez arrived shortly after 9:30 a.m, saying “I’m confident” before he was hurried through the doors. About two dozen fans stood behind metal police barricades holding signs in support of the embattled player. Rodriguez briefly stopped to thank the fans, who stayed until he was inside the building.
Rodriguez was suspended by the league Aug. 5 for his alleged connection to Biogenesis, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Miami that allegedly supplied players with performance-enhancing drugs. Thirteen other players were suspended as a result of the league’s investigation, but none received a ban anywhere near as lengthy as Rodriguez’s.
Anthony Bosch, the owner of the clinic and MLB’s star witness, arrived at Monday’s proceedings at 3:15 p.m., according to Bosch’s spokeswoman, Joyce Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick said arbitration rules prevented her from discussing Bosch’s appearance. He is expected to return Tuesday to be cross-examined by Rodriguez’s attorneys and lawyers from the Major League Baseball Players Association.
MLB’s team is headed by Rob Manfred, who Monday was promoted to chief operating officer by commissioner Bud Selig. It was not known if Selig, who often works out of his office in Milwaukee, was in the building.
Rodriguez has said he will attend every session of the hearing.
McCutchen OK after hit
Pittsburgh Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen gave the franchise a brief scare on Monday when a ball hit him in the head during batting practice.
The MVP candidate was shagging fly balls when an unnamed teammate distracted him. McCutchen says when he turned his head a ball off the bat of Jordy Mercer hopped off the ground and caught him around his right ear.
McCutchen walked off the field under his own power and said he should be fine to play in tonight’s NL wild-card game against Cincinnati. McCutchen joked he owes the ball an apology after it got the worst end of the collision.
McCutchen declined to identify the teammate who tried to get his attention.