Alex Rodriguez drops lawsuit against Yankees team doctor

Alex Rodriguez arrives at Major League Baseball headquarters

Alex Rodriguez arrives at Major League Baseball headquarters in New York. (Nov. 19, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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Alex Rodriguez dropped his medical malpractice lawsuit against the Yankees team doctor and his affiliated hospital Friday afternoon, his lawyer said.

"He does not want to have any legal distractions in preparing and entering the new season for the New York Yankees," Rodriguez lawyer Alan Ripka said in a telephone interview. "That is the sole and only reason why this case is being discontinued."

Rodriguez, who is serving a season-long performance-enhancing drug suspension from Major League Baseball, sued team doctor Christopher Ahmad and New York- Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center last October because he said they misdiagnosed his left hip injury in 2012.

The case had been moving along, with the Yankees recently having been subpoenaed by Ripka to have a team official testify at a July 1 hearing about how they compensate Ahmad for his work with their players. But that hearing is no longer necessary after Friday's decision.

Ripka said Rodriguez had been debating for some time whether to drop the lawsuit, which stood as the last remaining piece of his public feud with baseball last fall.

"We've been considering it and thinking about in terms of his career, in terms of the Yankees, in terms of him moving forward in his life," Ripka said. "This was determined to be the best decision."

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Asked Friday night about the possibility of Rodriguez returning to the Yankees in 2015, manager Joe Girardi said, "Well, he's under contract so you kind of expect him to be back. Obviously sitting out a year, as players have seen, is not the easiest thing to do."

Rodriguez filed two lawsuits against the league, commissioner Bud Selig and the Major League Baseball Players Association regarding their treatment of him last October, just as he and his lawyers were attending daily hearings before an arbitrator regarding the 211-game suspension MLB handed down last August.

He dropped both of those lawsuits last February, just a few weeks after an arbitrator upheld the majority of his suspension, sidelining him for the entire 2014 season. He largely has kept a low profile ever since.

Still, the medical malpractice lawsuit against Ahmad had remained alive. But as next season grows closer, Ripka said Rodriguez didn't want it to hang over him as he prepared to return to the Yankees.

Rodriguez, who turns 39 on July 27, still is owed $61 million for 2015-17 from his 10-year, $275 million contract.

"Who knows what the consequences [of continuing the lawsuit] would have been?" Ripka said. "But in essence we won't have to know because we're done."

With Erik Boland

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