Alex Rodriguez, calling his arbitration hearing with Major League Baseball "an abusive process," stormed out of his meeting with the league and arbitrator Fredric Horowitz on Wednesday, the latest bizarre twist in a saga that could end with him facing a 211-game suspension.
Rodriguez released a statement to news media outlets, including USA TODAY Sports after abruptly departing the 12th day of testimony when Horowitz refused to force baseball commissioner Bud Selig to testify.
MLB suspended Rodriguez for 211 games in August for his alleged ties to the Biogenesis scandal.
"I am disgusted with this abusive process, designed to ensure that the player fails," Rodriguez said in the statement. "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."
Rodriguez, 38, stands to lose as much as $32 million in salary if his suspension is upheld. He was the only player among 13 suspended by Major League Baseball in the Biogenesis scandal to appeal his suspension. The appeal enabled him to play the final two months of the season for the New York Yankees; a ruling from Horowitz is not expected until next month, as testimony is scheduled to wrap up next week.
Rodriguez and his legal team have also filed suit against Major League Baseball, accusing the league of engaging in "tortious interference" by, as he alleges, paying Biogenesis Anthony Bosch $150,000 for documents that supposedly incriminated Rodriguez and others.
According to The Associated Press, citing a person familiar with the session but speaking on condition of anonymity, after Horowitz made his ruling that Selig need not testify, Rodriguez slammed a table, uttered a profanity at MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred and left.
It was unclear whether Rodriguez would testify on his own behalf during the arbitration process. Wednesday's development would seem to rule out that possibility.