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Alex Rodriguez gives up battle over ban, sitting out 2014

Alex Rodri­guez gives up a suit against MLB and the union.

Alex Rodri­guez gives up a suit against MLB and the union.

NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez accepted his seasonlong suspension from Major League Baseball, the longest penalty in the sport's history related to performance-enhancing drugs, on Friday.

The decision came nearly four weeks after arbitrator Fredric Horowitz largely upheld the ban issued to the Yankees third baseman by commissioner Bud Selig.

Rodriguez repeatedly said he never used PEDs and sued baseball and the players union in federal court to overturn the penalty.

But on the day the three-time MVP was supposed to respond to MLB and union arguments that the suit should be dismissed, he withdrew it. He also withdrew a suit alleging MLB and Selig were engaged in a "witch hunt" against him. Rodriguez became the 14th and final player to accept a suspension after MLB's investigation of the Biogenesis antiaging clinic.

Horowitz's report, made public as a result of the lawsuit, gave an account of Rodriguez's alleged doping regimen. Legal analysts said Rodriguez faced a tough road because of that and because judges tend to defer to collective-bargaining agreements.

In a statement, MLB called the decision "prudent."

"We believe that Mr. Rodriguez's actions show his desire to return the focus to the play of our great game on the field and to all of the positive attributes and actions of his fellow major league players," it said. "We share that desire."

Rodriguez angered fellow players by also suing the union.

"Alex Rodriguez has done the right thing," the union said in a statement. "His decision to move forward is in everyone's best interest."

After Horowitz's decision, Rodriguez put out a statement: "No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with. … I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice but that players' contracts and rights are protected."

But with the Yankees a week from opening spring training in Tampa, he gave up the fight.

"We stand by the statements issued (by MLB and the union) and have no further comment," Rodriguez spokesman Ron Berkowitz said.

Rodriguez won't attend spring training despite being allowed to, his lawyer Joseph Tacopina said. (The ban covers only the regular season and playoffs.)

Rodriguez, originally suspended for 211 games, will lose about $25 million. He will be 39 when eligible to return. But he has incentive to play out the final three years of his contract. The Yankees owe him $21 million in 2015 and $20 million in the final two years of the record $275 million, 10-year deal. But the 14-time All-Star has been hobbled by injuries and not played a full season since 2007. He missed most of 2013 after hip surgery.

A's: Centerfielder Coco Crisp agreed to a two-year, $22.75 million extension that begins in 2015. Crisp, 34, hit a career-high 22 homers last season.

D'backs: Right-hander Bronson Arroyo agreed to a two-year, $23.5 million deal. Arroyo, a Hernando High graduate who turns 37 on Feb. 24, spent the past eight seasons with the Reds.

Orioles: Former Florida Gator first baseman Matt LaPorta, 29, agreed to a minor-league deal. The seventh overall pick in 2007 hasn't played in the majors since 2012.

Alex Rodriguez gives up battle over ban, sitting out 2014 02/07/14 [Last modified: Friday, February 7, 2014 11:06pm]
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