Embattled New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez on Friday dropped his lawsuits against Major League Baseball, including one seeking a dismissal of his 162-game doping suspension which will likely cost him $US25 million.
The major lawsuit, also filed against the major league players’ union, was filed January 14 at US District Court in New York, two days after federal arbitrator Fredric Hororwitz upheld the one-season ban for 2014 against the 38-year-old superstar whose legacy has been tainted by drugs.
The other lawsuit was filed last year and accused major league officials of being on a “witch hunt” against Rodriguez.
Rodriguez was banned over evidence collected in the Biogenesis clinic doping scandal that was uncovered last year and led to the biggest doping scandal in baseball history, which saw 12 other players admit guilt and take lesser bans.
Major League Baseball imposed a harsher penalty against Rodriguez because he took measures to impede the investigation into the scandal and Horowitz upheld it on appeal, saying there was clear and convincing evidence of doping and trying to obstruct the probe.
Rodriguez accused Horowitz of being partial in the league’s favour, but on Friday, the day Rodriguez was due to respond to the league and union wanting the case dismissed, Rodriguez pulled it himself.
“We have been informed that Alex Rodriguez has reached the prudent decision to end all of the litigation related to the Biogenesis matter,” a statement from Major League Baseball said.
“We believe that Mr. Rodriguez’s actions show his desire to return the focus to the play of our great game on the field and to all of the positive attributes and actions of his fellow major league players. We share that desire.”
A statement from the players union said Rodriguez had “done the right thing.”
While the 38-year-old standout could refile his lawsuit, the voluntary dismissal is likely the end of his efforts to fight the ban and could pave the way for his return in 2015 to fulfill the remaining years on his contract, a 10-year deal worth $US275 million signed in 2007 that is the richest in baseball history.
“A-Rod”, whose 654 career home runs are 108 shy of Barry Bonds’ all-time record, will lose $US25 million in salary from the Yankees this year, or about $US154,000 for every game missed.
Rodriguez, who in 2009 admitted that he took steroids while playing for the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003, would be 39 when he returns to play in 2015.
The Yankees could still go to court to argue that Rodriguez should not be paid the remaining $61 million on his deal from 2015-2017.