MLBPA, A-Rod moving forward on good terms
Union chief Clark expects suspended slugger to return to Yanks in '15
TAMPA, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez won't play for the Yankees in 2014, but he is once again a member in good standing with the Major League Baseball Players Association, new executive director Tony Clark said Monday.
Clark expects Rodriguez to serve his 162-game suspension and return to the Yankees in 2015, and he doesn't anticipate any retribution from Rodriguez's fellow players.
Rodriguez withdrew his lawsuits against the Players Association and Major League Baseball earlier this month after appealing his initial 211-game suspension. That penalty, for his use of performance-enhancing substances and his involvement with the now-shuttered Biogenesis anti-aging clinic, was dropped to 162 games by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.
Clark said he hasn't spoken with Rodriguez, but he doesn't think A-Rod needs to address the issue any further in order to return.
"The page has been turned," said Clark, who stopped by George M. Steinbrenner Field for the MLBPA's annual closed-door meeting with the players in the Yankees' clubhouse and met with reporters for about 20 minutes afterward.
"Our membership is our membership. Alex is a member of the Players Association," Clark said. "He will serve the penalty that he's been given by the arbitrator. He will come back in Spring Training ready to go, wherever that happens to be. He's under contract to the Yankees. I would expect him to be in camp with the Yankees. Am I concerned about anything beyond that? No."
Clark wouldn't comment on anything specific that the MLBPA representatives discussed with the Yankees during Monday's meeting, but he acknowledged that the Biogenesis suspensions and the Joint Drug Agreement were among the topics of conversation.
Clark's predecessor, the late Michael Weiner, said after last year's meeting that he was skeptical of the Yankees' goal to keep their 2014 payroll under the $189 million luxury tax threshold. Clark said he was pleased to see that Weiner, a close friend, was right as the Yankees went on an offseason spending spree to bolster their roster.
"We always like to see clubs making decisions that they inevitably feel are going to help them be the last team standing," Clark said. "Obviously the New York Yankees are a special group, and them continuing to make decisions that they hope are going to have them be the last team standing, we always enjoy seeing, as we do with a lot of other teams who are interested in being that final team."