Alex Rodriguez's appeal of Major League Baseball's 211-game suspension began Monday with an eight-hour session at MLB's offices in Manhattan.
Rodriguez was smiling when he left the arbitration hearing at 5:58 p.m. with his lawyer, Joe Tacopina, who quickly ushered him into a waiting car. Tacopina was asked how the meeting went and responded, "Very well."
Rodriguez arrived shortly after 9:30 a.m., saying "I'm confident" before he was hurried through the doors. About two dozen fans stood behind metal police barricades holding signs in support of the embattled player. Rodriguez briefly stopped to thank the fans, who stayed until he was inside the building.
Rodriguez was suspended by the league on Aug. 5 for his alleged connection to Biogenesis, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Miami that allegedly supplied players with performance-enhancing drugs. Thirteen other players were suspended as a result of the league's investigation, but none received a ban anywhere near as lengthy as Rodriguez's.
Anthony Bosch, the owner of the clinic and MLB's star witness, arrived at Monday's proceedings at 3:15 p.m., according to Bosch's spokeswoman, Joyce Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick said arbitration rules prevented her from discussing Bosch's appearance. He is expected to return Tuesday to be cross-examined by Rodriguez's attorneys and lawyers from the Major League Baseball Players Association.
MLB's team is headed by Rob Manfred, who on Monday was promoted to chief operating officer by commissioner Bud Selig. It was not known if Selig, who often works out of his office in Milwaukee, was in the building.
Rodriguez, who has an apartment in Manhattan, has said he will attend every session of the hearing. It is not known if he will testify. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz can ask him to testify but cannot compel him to do it, a source has said.
If the suspension stands, Rodriguez will not be back on the field until 2015, when he turns 40. He has $86 million left in base salary on his contract, which runs through 2017.
If the hearing concludes by the end of the week, it is possible Horowitz will render a decision before the end of this month.
Rodriguez appealed baseball's suspension and played 44 games for the Yankees, hitting .244 with seven home runs and 19 runs batted in. He has 654 career home runs, six behind Willie Mays.
Biogenesis being probed
State prosecutors in Florida have launched an investigation into Biogenesis.
A spokesman for Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle confirmed that at least one criminal subpoena has been issued for documents in the case. Spokesman Ed Griffith would not characterize the scope of the probe but said it involved potential violations of state law.
A federal grand jury based in Miami also is investigating the source of drugs allegedly supplied to players by Biogenesis.