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FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2013 file photo, New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez watches from the dugout during the first inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. Rodriguez's drug suspension has been cut to 162 games from 211 by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, a decision sidelining the New York Yankees third baseman the entire 2014 season. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
A-Rod sues MLB, union to overturn drug ban
NEW YORK – Alex Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball and its players’ union yesterday, seeking to overturn a season-long suspension imposed by an arbitrator who ruled there was “clear and convincing evidence” he used three banned substances and twice tried to obstruct the sport’s drug investigation.
As part of the lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, the New York Yankees third baseman made public Saturday’s 33-page decision by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who shortened a penalty originally set at 211 games last August by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig for violations of the sport’s drug agreement and labor contract.
“While this length of suspension may be unprecedented for a MLB player, so is the misconduct he committed,” Horowitz wrote in his decision Saturday.
Horowitz trimmed the penalty to 162 games, plus all postseason games in 2014.
Rodriguez in his suit claimed the Major League Baseball Players Association “completely abdicated its responsibility to Mr. Rodriguez to protect his rights” and “this inaction by MLBPA created a climate in which MLB felt free to trample” on Rodriguez’s confidentiality rights.
Rodriguez asked for the court to find MLB violated its agreements with the union, that the union breached its duty to represent him and to throw out Horowitz’s decision.
The three-time AL MVP five years ago admitted using performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas from 2001-03 but has denied using them since. MLB’s investigation of Biogenesis of America, a Florida anti-aging clinic, was sparked after the publication of documents last January by Miami New Times.
Anthony Bosch, the clinic’s former head, agreed last year to cooperate with MLB’s investigation, and Rodriguez’s lawyers attacked his credibility because of that agreement.
Horowitz concluded Rodriguez used testosterone, human growth hormone and Insulin-like growth factor-1 in 2010, 2011 and 2012 in violation of baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement.
“Direct evidence of those violations was supplied by the testimony of Anthony Bosch and corroborated with excerpts from Bosch’s personal composition notebooks, BBMs (Blackberry messages) exchanged between Bosch and Rodriguez, and reasonable inferences drawn from the entire record of evidence,” Horowitz wrote.
Horowitz said Rodriguez was introduced to Bosch by A-Rod cousin Yuri Sucart, who knew Bosch through Jorge “Oggi” Velazquez.
“Contrary to the claim of Rodriguez, the challenges lodged to the credibility of Bosch’s testimony do not effectively refute or undermine the findings of JDA violations,” the arbitrator write.
Rodriguez did not testify in the grievance, walking out after Horowitz refused to order Selig to testify.
In Selig’s notice of discipline to Rodriguez on Aug. 5, he said MLB is actively investigating allegations he received banned substances in 2009 from Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty in 2011 to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada.
Ronaldo wins FIFA best player award
ZURICH – Cristiano Ronaldo won the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for 2013, ending Lionel Messi’s four-year run as the world’s best player.
Ronaldo scored 69 goals for Real Madrid and Portugal last year, and his stunning hat trick against Sweden in a decisive World Cup playoff was perhaps the defining individual performance.
“There are no words to describe this moment,” said Ronaldo, who was sobbing in tears after he accepting the trophy with his young son, also named Cristiano, beside him on stage.
He beat out Barcelona’s Messi and France winger Franck Ribery, who helped Bayern Munich to a sweep of major titles.
Germany dominated the other major trophies, with goalkeeper Nadine Angerer getting the women’s award ahead of United States forward Abby Wambach, last year’s winner, and Marta of Brazil.
Source: Titans hire Whisenhunt as new coach
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A person familiar with the decision said the Tennessee Titans have hired San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as their new head coach.
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity yesterday because the Titans have not announced a decision.
The Titans flew out to San Diego on Friday and interviewed Whisenhunt, who started his coaching career in Nashville at Vanderbilt.
Whisenhunt, 51, spent six years coaching Arizona and took the Cardinals to their lone Super Bowl before being fired Dec. 31, 2012. He spent this season with San Diego helping Philip Rivers and the Chargers to the playoffs.
He was the fourth person interviewed by the Titans, who fired Mike Munchak on Jan. 4 after three seasons.
Harbaughs’ grandfather dies at 98
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Joe Cipiti, the grandfather of NFL coaching brothers Jim and John Harbaugh, has died. He was 98.
Cipiti died Sunday morning in Ohio, and Jim Harbaugh spoke fondly of his grandfather yesterday as the coach begins San Francisco’s preparation for the NFC championship game Sunday in Seattle.
Along with the Harbaughs’ parents, Cipiti attended last year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans, where John’s Baltimore Ravens beat Jim’s 49ers, 34-31.
Jim Harbaugh said his grandpa watched as San Francisco beat Green Bay in the wild-card round Jan. 5. The coach says it was hard leading his team during Sunday’s 23-10 victory at Carolina, calling his grandfather, “an amazing storyteller. He is a poet of life. A man that was all about family.”
He will miss the memorial service Friday, “a bit of a crushing blow.”