As noted in this space, Alex Rodriguez's arbitration hearing has concluded, and independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz will now deliberate for perhaps the next calendar month or so. At stake, of course, is whether A-Rod's 211-game suspension for his alleged role in the Biogenesis/PED scandal will stand, be reduced or be overturned completely.
As part of the run-up to that decision, Joe Tacopina, A-Rod's lead attorney in this matter, made a Friday appearance on WFAN's "Boomer & Carton" show and directly addressed some of the evidence in his client's favor:
Joe Tacopina interview on WFAN
Here are some choice excerpts:
Tacopina on whether Rodriguez has used PEDs since his days with the Rangers: "Alex Rodriguez was adamant that he had to be 100 percent clean as far as PEDs. I will tell you that the evidence is overwhelming that he went out of his way to make sure he was taking (legal) nutritional supplements. Overwhelming. Two, three years of emails that we have. Overwhelming. ... Here's the thing: it would defy science then, because Alex would be either the luckiest man in the world or a scientific freak. His testing results show he did not take PEDs."
Tacopina on whether he expected MLB commissioner Bud Selig to testify (Selig did not, which precipitated A-Rod's leaving the hearing earlier this week): "I personally assured Alex that the ruling would be in his favor, that Bud Selig would have to testify. But not only me, the other lawyers, the union attorneys told him as well there's no way Bug Selig is going to be kept off the witness stand."
Tacopina on whether a significantly reduced suspension would be acceptable to A-Rod's camp: "My opinion is he should fight it. I don't think on this evidence he should take one inning. I've told him that. I've said that before. Ultimately that's Alex's decision. There is some benefit to putting this all behind everyone."
Also of note is that, contrary to what was said on Thursday, Tacopina suggested that A-Rod's side will not release evidence purportedly in his client's favor until next week.
As to Tacopina's larger point, MLB has sanction to discipline even in the absence of a positive test, but if A-Rod's attorneys made the "no positive PED test" case to Horowitz in a compelling manner during the hearing, then Horowitz may be inclined to lessen the suspension on the grounds of overreach by MLB.
Of course, by the sounds of it the only outcome acceptable to A-Rod is no suspension. Given that aggressive stance and the pending lawsuit against MLB, this story almost certainly won't end when Horowitz's ruling comes down.