Alex Rodriguez is expected to be questioned Friday by Major League Baseball officials as MLB continues its investigation into Biogenesis, the former anti-aging clinic in Miami that is alleged to have given Rodriguez and other players performance-enhancing drugs.
Sources confirmed the meeting with Rodriguez and MLB to Newsday on Tuesday. The location has not been disclosed. He could face a 100-game suspension if the investigation finds he received PEDs from the clinic.
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Rodriguez said earlier this week that he was not scheduled to play Friday for the Class A Tampa Yankees, but for the second time in a week, he had a rehab game rained out yesterday in Florida. Tampa played the top of the first inning of a doubleheader against Dunedin before a brief thunderstorm saturated the field. Now he is expected to play tonight when Tampa hosts Bradenton.
It was reported earlier this week that Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun refused to answer questions about his connection to Biogenesis and clinic founder Anthony Bosch when he met with MLB June 29.
In a statement released Thursday, Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner expressed concern about what he termed "leaks'' to the media.
"The leaking of confidential information to members of the media interferes with the thoroughness and credibility of the Biogenesis investigation,'' Weiner said in the statement. "These repeated leaks threaten to harm the integrity of the Joint Drug Agreement and call into question the required level of confidentiality needed to operate a successful prevention program.''
The MLBPA later clarified its statement to say it has "no information about the source of the leaks and we have no information that MLB is the source.''
Former MLB arbitrator George Nicolau served from 1986-95 and in 1992 overturned commissioner Fay Vincent's lifetime ban of Yankees pitcher Steve Howe for seven incidents of drug and alcohol abuse. Nicolau said he anticipates the players linked to Biogenesis will challenge MLB's ability to prove its case without positive drug tests.
"The players are going to say, 'This doesn't even belong in the drug phase because there's been no failed tests. You can't suspend in this circumstance,' '' Nicolau said. "They're going to make that argument.''
The Biogenesis probe began earlier this year after the Miami New Times reported that Bosch had diary entries detailing purported sales of PEDs to numerous players, including A-Rod.
Bosch reportedly is cooperating with MLB in return for dropping his name from MLB's suit seeking unspecified financial damages from him and three other defendants with alleged ties to Biogenesis. Bosch's attorney, Susy Ribero-Ayala, said she is vacationing in Spain and that "nothing is new'' in the case.
Rodriguez said Wednesday that he expected to be in Tampa through the weekend, but that could change with more rain expected there. Trenton and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre aren't good matches, either. Trenton has six road games against New Britain and Reading. After a home game Friday night, Scranton is on the road and on All-Star break until Thursday.
Although Derek Jeter's return to the Yankees was fast- tracked, that will not be the case with Rodriguez.
"In his case, I think I've stated from the beginning of his rehab process he would go the whole 20 days,'' general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday morning.
"He's in the middle of his rehab process and it's going to go all the way until the end . . . He's coming off a very complicated [hip] surgery. There's a reason he's in A ball and a reason we were able to put Derek in Triple-A right from the start. Derek was obviously much further along than where Alex was.''
Cashman called Rodriguez's game Wednesday, in which he went 1-for-3 with an RBI, "the best day of Alex's rehab so far as was reported to me. But he'll take the full 20 days.''
Rodriguez declined to speak with reporters Thursday. He has been patient in following a regimented rehab program, playing five or six innings in six games with optimism about soon extending that to seven innings. He has split time between third base and DH, going 2-for-15 with one RBI for Charleston and Tampa.
With Greg Auman in Tampa and Erik Boland