Michael Sitrick, the head of the public relations firm Sitrick & Co., won a delay in enforcement of an order to testify and turn over documents in Alex Rodriguez’s arbitration with Major League Baseball.
U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan today granted the delay while an appeals court considers the matter. Ramos denied MLB’s request that he hold Sitrick in contempt of court and fine him until he complied with the subpoena, which he said would be “unseemly, if not inappropriate.”
Rodriguez, the New York Yankees’ third baseman, is seeking to overturn a 211-game suspension over allegations he used performance-enhancing drugs obtained from Anthony Bosch and his Coral Gables, Florida-based clinic, Biogenesis of America.
Ramos’s ruling today may doom MLB’s efforts to reopen the arbitration and to force Sitrick to turn over evidence the organization claims would show that Rodriguez is responsible for leaking information on its probe into the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs.
In August, the CBS television program “60 Minutes” said that representatives for Rodriguez gave documents to Yahoo Sports implicating former National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun and Francisco Cervelli, a Yankees teammate, in using banned drugs.
Braun accepted a 65-game suspension for violating baseball’s performance-enhancing drug rules. Cervelli and 11 other players were banned for 50 games.
MLB said that a stay will prevent it from presenting evidence from Sitrick in the Rodriguez arbitration because the arbitrator is likely to reach a decision before the appeals court rules on the subpoena. MLB was seeking to enforce the subpoena and ask the arbitrator to reopen the Rodriguez proceeding. Witness testimony concluded Nov. 21.
Howard Ganz, a lawyer representing MLB, said he will consult with his client before determining whether to ask the appeals court to reverse Ramos’s stay.
“We are pleased with the judge’s decision,” Gayle Klein, a lawyer for Sitrick, said today in an e-mail.
The case is Office of the Commissioner of Baseball v. Sitrick, 13-cv-07990, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).