By RONALD BLUM AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Hearings on the grievance to overturn Alex Rodriguez’s 211-game suspension recessed Friday for a month after Major League Baseball completed its direct case.
The session was the eighth before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who unless the case is settled will decide whether to uphold the penalty issued Aug. 5, overturn it or change the length.
Rob Manfred, MLB’s chief operating officer, completed his testimony Friday. Rodriguez’s legal team will call witnesses when the hearing resumes, likely the week of Nov. 18.
MLB disciplined Rodriguez following its investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic, alleging the New York Yankees third baseman violated the sport’s drug agreement and labor contract.
The group Hispanics Across America, which has been demonstrating outside MLB’s office in support of Rodriguez during the hearings, took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times on Friday. The ad included a photograph of Commissioner Bud Selig at the top adjacent to a headline: “Who is Public Enemy No. 1 in Baseball?”
“Bud Selig is a disgrace to the game, to the players and to our children,” read the ad, signed by HAA President and founder Fernando Mateo. “He turned a blind eye on issues involving HGH and steroids until Hispanics Across America delivered three caskets to his door steps with a name and date of birth in 2004. Willful blindness should be punishable and Bud Selig and his executives have not been punished. Why? That’s why we are fighting for justice for Alex Rodriguez.”
The Times reported on its website that while it doesn’t reveal an advertisement’s cost, a full-page, black-and-white advocacy ad in that category costs more than $100,000.
“Every person who’s ever given a dime to Hispanics Across America ought to be asking why that organization spent $100,000 on an ad attacking the executive who has done more to rid professional sports of performance-enhancing drugs than any other and supporting an admitted drug user,” Manfred said in a telephone interview.
In other A-Rod news, lawyers for Rodriguez and MLB agreed to push back a federal court conference on the player’s lawsuit against the league and Selig from Oct. 24 to Nov. 7.
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