NEW YORK —
The three-time AL MVP admitted five years ago he used performance-enhancing substances while with Texas from 2001-03, but the third baseman has denied using them since. MLB’s Biogenesis investigation was sparked after the publication of documents last January by Miami New Times.
Bosch agreed in June to cooperate with MLB and testified during the hearing, which ran from September until November. Rodriguez’s lawyers attacked his credibility because of that deal, which included reimbursement by MLB for costs of lawyers, up to $2,400 daily for security, insulation from civil suits and a promise to tell law enforcement he was cooperative.
“The benefits accorded to Bosch under that arrangement did not involve inducements that the panel considers to be improper,” wrote Horowitz, who chaired a three-man panel that included MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred and union General Counsel David Prouty.
Horowitz cited the credibility of Bosch’s “unrebutted testimony — testimony which was corroborated by substantial documentary evidence,” and he described how Bosch and Rodriguez communicated in code, referring to banned substances as “food.”
“Once when Bosch sent a message telling Rodriguez that he was going to pick up Rodriguez’s ‘meds,’ Rodriguez replied ‘Not meds dude. Food,”’ the arbitrator wrote.
Rodriguez did not testify in the grievance, walking out after Horowitz refused to order Selig to testify.
At a brief hearing Monday, MLB said it would not discipline Rodriguez for including the decision in his lawsuit. U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III brushed aside concerns from the union about confidentiality concerns.
“Given the intense public interest in this matter and Commissioner Selig’s disclosures last night on ‘60 Minutes,’ it’s difficult to imagine that any portion of this proceeding should be under seal,” Pauley said.
The arbitrator noted Bosch and Rodriguez exchanged 556 text messages and had 53 telephone calls in 2012. He said all records of text messages were produced by Bosch, while lawyers for Rodriguez said the Blackberry he used to communicate with Bosch was deactivated last March and Rodriguez no longer had it.