NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez expanded his assault on the baseball establishment with a lawsuit accusing the Yankees team physician and a New York City hospital of mishandling his medical care during the 2012 AL playoffs.
In a suit filed late Friday in New York Supreme Court in the Bronx, lawyers for Rodriguez say he was given an MRI on Oct. 11, 2012, that revealed an injury to his left hip joint. The suit said that Yankees physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad did not inform him of the tear and cleared him to continue playing, and accused them of medical malpractice.
As a result, the suit claims, Rodriguez further injured himself and also “sustained great pain, agony, injury, suffering, disability, hospitalization, as well as mental anguish and emotional distress.” The suit also names New York-Presbyterian Hospital as a defendant.
“We are not commenting due to pending litigation,” hospital spokeswoman Myrna Manners said Saturday.
Ahmad did not respond to a telephone message seeking comment.
The hospital and Ahmad may claim that the proper forum for Rodriguez’s complaint is either Workman’s Compensation or the grievance process of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
The union is attempting to overturn the 211-game suspension given to Rodriguez by MLB on Aug. 5 for alleged violations of its drug agreement and labor contract. The penalty was stayed pending a grievance filed by the union, and a hearing began Monday before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who is chairman of the three-man arbitration panel that includes a representative of management and the union. Barring a settlement, a decision is not expected until winter.
Also Saturday, The New York Times reported on its website that Rodriguez’s lawyers at Reed Smith sent a letter to the players’ association General Counsel David Prouty on Aug. 22 asking that a union lawyer be replaced as his representative in the grievance by one of his personal attorneys. The lawyers also criticized union head Michael Weiner, who is battling a brain tumor, for comments he made about the case.
Rodriguez hit .120 (3 for 25) with no RBIs during the 2012 postseason, then had left hip surgery in January that kept him from rejoining the Yankees until August.
One of Rodriguez’s lawyers, Joseph Tacopina, said in August that the Yankees “put him out there in that condition when he shouldn’t have even been walking, much less playing baseball.”
The Yankees maintain that Rodriguez had been complaining at the time only of a problem with his right hip, not the left one. Rodriguez had right hip surgery in 2009.
Rodriguez filed the medical lawsuit a day after suing MLB and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, accusing them of orchestrating a “witch hunt” intended to force him out of baseball as part of its investigation of the now-closed Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic in Florida.
Both suits came during the first week of hearings on a players’ association grievance seeking to overturn the suspension. Thirteen other players accepted suspensions this summer, including former NL MVP Ryan Braun, who was suspended for Milwaukee’s final 65 games of the regular season.
The August letter from Rodriguez’s lawyers to the players’ association accused the union of failing to “fairly represent his interests” and said it “made matters worse by failing to protest MLB’s thuggish tactics in its investigation.”
A-Rod’s lawyers were critical of Weiner for saying in an XM Radio interview in August that he advised Rodriguez to accept a suspension of a certain length — less than MLB was willing to settle for. They said in the letter that Weiner’s statements could “irretrievably corrupt the arbitration process” and “are clearly inconsistent with the MLBPA’s duty to fairly and ardently represent Mr. Rodriguez.”
MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred represents management on the arbitration panel and Prouty represents the players’ association.
Rodriguez spokesman Ron Berkowitz declined comment on both the latest lawsuit and the letter.
Tacopina said in a statement Saturday that Selig and MLB have an “inexplicable personal animus toward Alex Rodriguez” and called former Biogenesis head Anthony Bosch “a witness under federal investigation for dealing performance enhancing drugs to minors.”
“Every player in the league, every fan who spends money on MLB tickets and gear, and every team whose money is being spent on this witch hunt should be asking Selig to explain and justify his actions,” Tacopina said.