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Alex Rodriguez suspension case: Evidence comes at a big price

By Jason Carroll and Steve Almasy, CNN
updated 9:01 AM EDT, Tue October 22, 2013
New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez was suspended in August 2013 after he was accused of having ties to Biogenesis, a now-defunct anti-aging clinic, and taking performance-enhancing drugs. The suspension covers 211 regular-season games through the 2014 season. Rodriguez denied the accusations and said he intends to appeal. Twelve other Major League Baseball players received 50-game suspensions without pay in the Biogenesis probe, and In July, Milwaukee Brewers star outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended for the rest of the season for violating the league's drug policy. New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez was suspended in August 2013 after he was accused of having ties to Biogenesis, a now-defunct anti-aging clinic, and taking performance-enhancing drugs. The suspension covers 211 regular-season games through the 2014 season. Rodriguez denied the accusations and said he intends to appeal. Twelve other Major League Baseball players received 50-game suspensions without pay in the Biogenesis probe, and In July, Milwaukee Brewers star outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended for the rest of the season for violating the league's drug policy.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alex Rodriduez's reps have paid $305,000 for documents, video in his suspension case
  • MLB says it paid $175,000 for evidence but didn't know the papers were stolen
  • Source says MLB tried to pressure him into saying ARod used steroids
  • Rodriguez faces a potential 211-game suspension, longest in MLB history

New York (CNN) -- Alex Rodriguez's ongoing arbitration hearing into his record-setting 211-game suspension for allegedly violating Major League Baseball's drug policy is supposed to be private.

But baseball fans have already gotten a taste of how far each side is willing to go to prove their case, including paying huge sums of money for evidence and -- one man who has worked for Rodriguez claims -- allegedly intimidating a witness.

The man asked for his identity to be concealed out of fear of retribution from Major League Baseball.

We asked him if he ever saw Rodriguez use a performance-enhancing drug.

"Never," he said.

CNN Explains: PEDs
Report: A-Rod, MLB paid for evidence

He claims MLB investigators pressured him to say he saw Rodriguez and other players use PEDs and that if he didn't he might not work again.

"I didn't see it, no, but I was pressured. ... A certain pressure on the part of Major League Baseball," he said, according to a CNN translation.

The man told CNN he was not paid by baseball or Rodriguez, a three-time Most Valuable Player and one of baseball's all-time great sluggers.

The man's attorney says his client was questioned for eight hours at his house.

"It was definitely Major League Baseball investigators," Roberto Cuan said.

Rodriguez: 'I'm fighting for my life'

Major League Baseball Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred strongly denied any improper conduct on behalf of his legal team.

"Our investigators have complied with all legal and ethical requirements throughout the process," he said.

He said that included the legal purchase of evidence. Manfred confirmed authorizing $125,000 for documents to find out about violations of the league's drug policy.

"There is nothing that is illegal or unethical about paying for documents. It's sometimes necessary to pay for documents for information."

But what if those documents are stolen?

Attorney: Rodriguez had 'consulting relationship' with Biogenesis

The files in question come from the now-shuttered Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in South Florida, which MLB says supplied steroids to at least a dozen baseball players. A police report obtained by CNN shows the files were reported stolen from the car of a former Biogenesis worker.

The worker told police that MLB representatives had "offered him a job and up to $125,000 for the client files."

The last offer was March 18 and the documents were stolen six days later, according to the police report.

Manfred told CNN that no one from Major League Baseball knew the documents were reported stolen.

"In fact the people we bought them from made representations to the contrary," he said.

One of Rodriguez's attorneys, Joe Tacopina, doesn't buy it.

"Shocking. Shocking and deplorable," he said. "The things that they have done, the lines that they have crossed, the laws that they have ignored, the ethical violations that have been committed by members of the legal team. It's disheartening because Major League Baseball is supposed to be the pinnacle of a sports organization in this country."

Alex Rodriguez sues Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball points out it isn't the only one paying for evidence.

It was revealed during the arbitration hearing on Rodriguez's suspension that his representatives admitted paying a lot of money for "evidentiary material."

"We've paid far less than they've paid in this case, first and foremost," Tacopina said.

He said his side had paid $105,000 for "actual documentation from two witnesses" and made a $200,000 deposit for a videotape they had yet to receive.

The hearing went on hiatus two weeks ago so the arbitrator, Fredric Horowitz, could tend to other matters, It resumed Wednesday.

Rodriguez was one of 14 players suspended in connection with the Biogenesis scandal and is the only one who appealed his suspension.

Performance Enhancing Drugs in sports

Rodriguez, 38, is fifth on MLB's list of all-time home run leaders, just six behind Willie Mays. He would make $25 million in 2014, if his suspension is overturned. If his suspension is upheld, he won't be eligible to return until 49 games into the 2015 season.

He has filed suit against MLB and retiring Commisioner Bud Selig, alleging they "engaged in tortuous and egregious conduct with one and only one goal ... to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez."

Tacopina said in August that Rodriguez was a consultant to Biogenenis.

Opinion: How A-Rod let us down

"Clearly there was a relationship -- a consulting relationship," Tacopina said. "I mean, Biogenesis, that lab has consulted with many professional athletes. Not every single one of those athletes has been accused of or found guilty of using illegal substances."

He said Monday that Rodriguez had "absolutely not" taken steroids recently and MLB doesn't have any evidence that he had.

However, Rodriguez has said he used drugs in the past.

In 2009, Rodriguez admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs while a shortstop for the Texas Rangers between 2001 and 2003. He won the first of his MVP awards in 2003.

He was traded to the New York Yankees before the 2004 season. He played 44 games this year, batting an underwhelming .244 with seven home runs after spending the first part of the season on the disabled list.

A look at the life of Alex Rodriguez

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