Alex Rodriguez begins his appeal against a 211-game drug suspension from Major League Baseball after the New York Yankees’ season ended yesterday.
Rodriguez, 38, told reporters during the Yankees’ season-closing series in Houston that he’ll be present for each day of the appeal process starting today at MLB headquarters in New York. Rodriguez said he expects the appeal to take five days.
“This has been a burden, a big burden,” Rodriguez was cited as saying by MLB.com. “Let’s get it on.”
Rodriguez arrived for the start of the hearing this morning as a dozen fans chanted “A-Rod!” from behind police barricades. Rodriguez told them, “Thank you,” and went inside without speaking to reporters who were gathered at the site.
A three-time American League Most Valuable Player, Rodriguez is fifth on MLB’s career list with 654 home runs, six behind Hall of Fame outfielder Willie Mays.
Rodriguez filed an appeal with an independent arbitrator Aug. 6, one day after MLB suspended him without pay through the 2014 season. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig accused Rodriguez of using testosterone and human growth hormone over “multiple years” and of trying to “obstruct and frustrate” baseball’s investigation of performance-enhancing substances supplied to players from a now-closed clinic in Miami.
Rodriguez, who appeared in 44 games this season while hitting .244 with seven home runs and 19 runs batted in, said he won’t discuss specifics of the case or his appeal. He was able to play for the Yankees after filing the appeal.
“This is going to be a grueling process all the way through until it’s completely over,” Rodriguez said, according to MLB. com. “You’ll hear the full story when the time is right for me. That time is not just now.”
The Yankees missed the playoffs for the second time in 19 years this season after finishing in third place in the American League East Division with an 85-77 record.