New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez angrily left in the middle of his appeal hearing Wednesday and says he "will not participate any further" in the process, reports Wallace Matthews of ESPN.
Rodriguez's frustration stems from independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz's refusal to force baseball commissioner Bud Selig to take the witness stand and testify. When Horowitz made that decree, Rodriguez allegedly yelled, "This is ridiculous."
Neither Selig nor Rodriguez have been reported to take the witness stand to answer questions at this point. Rodriguez missed an investigatory meeting with MLB officials on Friday when he claimed he was sick. Because of this, the MLB is expected to ask that Rodriguez not be allowed to take the stand.
During the hearing, Rodriguez reportedly slammed his hand onto his table, pointed to MLB COO Rob Manfred, and told him that he is "full of shit." Manfred directed the investigation of the Biogenesis lab that resulted in the suspension of Rodriguez and 12 other players. Three weeks ago, Manfred called Rodriguez's career "tarnished" and said his efforts to protect other young players "rings very hollow." Joe Tacopina, the attorney for Rodriguez, has called for Manfred to be removed from the arbitration panel, where he is representing the league.
Rodriguez issued a brief statement to reporters through a spokesman after walking out:
I am disgusted with this abusive process, designed to ensure that the player fails. I have sat through 10 days of testimony by felons and liars, sitting quietly through every minute, trying to respect the league and the process. This morning, after Bud Selig refused to come in and testify about his rationale for the unprecedented and totally baseless punishment he hit me with, the arbitrator selected by MLB and the Players Association refused to order Selig to come in and face me. The absurdity and injustice just became too much. I walked out and will not participate any further in this farce.
Neither Selig nor Manfred would answer questions from reporters. Rodriguez is appealing a 211-game suspension issued to him by MLB for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic. The other 12 suspended players did not appeal their punishments. Rodriguez has issued lawsuits against the MLB for, as he claims, conducting a "witch hunt".
Rodriguez could lose up to $32 million if his suspension is upheld.