One day after Alex Rodriguez stormed out of the grievance hearing appealing his 211-game suspension, his lawyer returned to the bargaining table Thursday in New York for the 12th and final session of the process.
According to The Associated Press, both sides then rested their cases. Now both sides will submit their briefs to independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who will rule on or amend Major League Baseball's penalty for Rodriguez's alleged violations of the sport's Joint Drug Agreement. Horowitz's decision could come in January, according to The AP.
The AP cited a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because no statements had been authorized.
One member of A-Rod's legal team, Jim McCarroll, issued a statement Thursday saying 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." A dozen other players received lesser suspensions for their alleged connection to the now-shuttered Biogenesis anti-aging clinic but chose not to appeal.
McCarroll had said Wednesday that before Rodriguez walked out, he had been scheduled to testify on Friday.
The cause of Rodriguez's actions Wednesday was Horowitz's decision not to compel Commissioner Bud Selig to testify. Major League Baseball pointed out Wednesday that Selig has never testified in a case involving violations of the Joint Drug Agreement and that Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred had been designated to explain its position in the hearing.
MLB announced its suspension of Rodriguez on Aug. 5. Horowitz, chosen by management and the union as their independent arbitrator last year, has the discretion to uphold the suspension, eliminate or alter it.
Rodriguez and his attorneys have lashed out at MLB, Horowitz, the Yankees and the Major League Baseball Players Association. Rodriguez already has filed one suit against MLB and Selig, accusing them of a "witch hunt," and another against the Yankees team physician and his hospital, alleging malpractice in the diagnosis and treatment of a hip injury.
No matter what Horowitz decides, it appears unlikely these proceedings will end anytime soon. McCarroll said on WFAN radio in New York Wednesday that he and Rodriguez are "evaluating our options" and many believe the 14-time All-Star will continue to utilize every legal recourse unless his suspension is thrown out.
"Over time, the arbitration process in baseball has been amazingly pro-player," MLB spokesman Pat Courtney told The Associated Press. "It was that process which created free agency. It allowed Steve Howe to remain on the field despite numerous drug violations and resulted in the shortening of suspensions like John Rocker's. The notion that this same process is not fair enough or good enough for Alex Rodriguez is ridiculous."
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com.