'60 Minutes' A-Rod Story Brings Barbs from MLB, Union

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Jorge L. Ortiz, @jorgelortiz, USA TODAY Sports
Major League Baseball and the players association, which previously had maintained a tone of respect and cooperation through the messy Alex Rodriguez ordeal, appear ready to get down into the muck with him.

Both organizations issued critical statements about each other Sunday, regarding appearances by MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred and Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch on 60 Minutes.

Bosch detailed the extent of Rodriguez's involvement with performance-enhancing drugs and said he shot the New York Yankees third baseman with steroids and instructed him on how to avoid detection.

In a statement released after an arbitrator's ruling was announced, Rodriguez called the evidence against him false and unreliable.

On 60 Minutes, Manfred defended steps MLB took to punish Rodriguez for his involvement with Biogenesis, a clinic accused of dispensing performance-enhancing drugs to players. Those steps included buying Biogenesis documents.

Saturday, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz upheld most of MLB's suspension of Rodriguez, reducing it from 211 games to 162, meaning he'll be banned for the 2014 season and postseason. Rodriguez has vowed to take his case to federal court.

The players union, which Saturday said it disagreed with Horowitz's decision but recognized it as final and binding, was incensed Manfred and Bosch took their case to the news media. Other bits to come out in the two-part 60 Minutes segment include Manfred's belief that Rodriguez's camp threatened Bosch and Bosch saying Rodriguez would take testosterone lozenges before games.

"It is unfortunate that Major League Baseball ... could not resist the temptation to publicly pile-on against Alex Rodriguez," the players association's statement said. "It is equally troubling that the MLB-appointed Panel Arbitrator will himself be appearing in the 60 Minutes segment, and that Tony Bosch, MLB's principal witness, is appearing on the program with MLB's blessing. MLB's post-decision rush to the media is inconsistent with our collectively bargained arbitration process."

A little more than an hour later, MLB fired its own shot.

"We have notified the Players Association on numerous occasions that we intended to respond to all of the attacks on the integrity of our Joint Drug Program," baseball's statement said. "Those attacks continued yet again yesterday with Mr. Rodriguez's statement.

"It is ironic that the MLBPA is complaining about MLB's participation in this program given that Mr. Rodriguez's lawyer is also participating in the show. As to Mr. Bosch's appearance, he is not controlled by us."

January 13, 2014


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