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Baseball's Deal With Its Star A-Rod Witness Just Got Very Awkward


Exactly one year has passed since Major League Baseball suspended New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez for 211 games for having violated the league’s drug agreement. The sanction lead to a months-long legal battle between A-Rod and the league, finally sidelining the slugger for the current season. On Tuesday morning the league got an unwelcome reminder of the cost of its A-Rod pursuit: Anthony Bosch, whose drug clinic allegedly supplied Rodriguez and almost two dozen MLB players, surrendered to Drug Enforcement Administration agents in South Florida and has reached a deal to plead guilty to conspiring to distribute steroids.

Bosch is baseball’s key witness against A-Rod. To secure his cooperation, the league dropped its own lawsuit against him, promised to protect him from any suits his testimony might cause, and provided him with personal security. The league also said it would put in a good word for Bosch were he to face federal charges. That promise appears to be coming due:

According to ESPN, federal investigators have been looking into whether Bosch pretended to be a licensed physician, how he got his hands on the drugs he distributed, and whether he provided them to minors. The last charge could be especially uncomfortable for the league, which could be obliged to vouch for a man accused of dealing drugs to kids. One of the aims of MLB’s drug policy is to discourage young players from using performance-enhancers.

The league appears to be taking a big stride forward in the ongoing contest over who looks worst in the entire episode. Rob Manfred, the man responsible for MLB’s investigation into A-Rod, is also the favored candidate to replace Bud Selig as commissioner:

The choice, however, is not exactly unanimous. Manfred’s detractors may want to point to today’s self-inflicted wound.

Boudway is a reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek in New York.

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