Alex Rodriguez's lead attorney, Joe Tacopina, said Wednesday that Major League Baseball is showing "desperation" by filing a petition to try to force the owner of a public relations firm formerly employed by Rodriguez to testify in the Yankees third baseman's appeal of his 211-game suspension.
MLB filed the petition Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Court against Michael S. Sitrick of Sitrick & Co. MLB is asking the court to order him to testify. The hearing is to resume Nov. 18.
MLB's petition alleges that Rodriguez or others acting on his behalf provided records to Sitrick & Co. implicating other players in receiving performance-enhancing drugs from Anthony Bosch, the founder of Biogenesis, a former anti-aging clinic in Miami. MLB also said Sitrick & Co. provided the information to Yahoo! Sports.
Sitrick was not available for comment, but his lawyer Peter J. Most said his client did not answer MLB's subpoena to testify because "There are errors in the subpoena both in substance and process. We intend to bring these issues before the court. We are hopeful that in the interim we can reach a resolution with the commissioner. Mr. Sitrick intends to cooperate to the extent he can."
Tacopina refuted MLB's charge. "As we have said all along, Alex has never bought any documents related to Biogenesis, and he has repeatedly turned down offers from various individuals who approached him about buying them," Tacopina said in a statement. "Alex unequivocally denies having exposed any players. This is MLB's desperate cry for help. What happened to the 'overwhelming mountain' of evidence against Alex? Having now rested its case against Alex, this effort makes clear to the world that MLB doesn't have what they said they have. What is perhaps most shocking -- and the best evidence of their desperation -- is that MLB would do this during the World Series."
MLB responded in a statement Wednesday. "We continue to be at a loss to explain how Mr. Tacopina can take the position that his client has done nothing wrong," the statement read. "First, it was Mr. Rodriguez did not use drugs. Now, it is he did not obstruct the investigation. Those statements are simply and demonstrably inaccurate. The action we took [Tuesday] was necessitated by continuing efforts by Mr. Rodriguez's lawyers to engage in a purposeful cover-up."
Rodriguez's legal team will present its case when the hearing reconvenes. A person familiar with the proceeding has not ruled out Rodriguez testifying.