TMZ has a report that Alex Rodriguez is threatening to sue Major League Baseball if his suspension isn’t overturned:
Sources directly connected to A-Rod tell us he’s prepared to march into Federal court next month … unless the 211-game suspension the MLB slapped him with last week isn’t entirely lifted … According to our sources, Alex will sue for various things, including a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players’ union and the league.
Well, good luck with that, A-Rod, but you’re part of an arbitration process you agreed to when you signed your contract and to which you are further bound by the collective bargaining agreement between you and your union. If you attempt to circumvent that, a court is highly likely to tell you to take a hike and go have your arbitration. Courts favor arbitration agreements — highly favor them — when they are entered into freely and willingly between two sophisticated parties and they are loathe to intervene.
After your arbitration? Fine, appeal to a court. Then they are only about 99.9% likely to tell you to go away as opposed to the 99.999% likelihood of that happening now, but I suppose it’s not nothing.
This would be a totally different situation if Major League Baseball had first attempted to circumvent the Joint Drug Agreement by suspending A-Rod and not allowing him to play during his appeal. Everything the league is doing now, however, appears to be in compliance with the JDA and the CBA. They may have suspended him for too many games — that’s my view anyway — but that’s a dispute to be handled within the system, not by circumventing it with litigation.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that starter Clay Buchholz is at Citizens Bank Park for Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins. The right-hander recently underwent surgery to repair a partial tear of his flexor pronator mass. The timetable for his recovery is three to five months, but most are expecting him to miss the rest of the season since the Phillies aren’t legitimate contenders.
According to Zolecki, Buchholz apologized to GM Matt Klentak “and others” — presumably other front office staff and/or his teammates — for getting injured. Buchholz hopes to return to pitch in September.
It’s saddening to me, and indicative of the general anti-labor culture in sports, that a player feels obligated to apologize for getting injured on the job. Injuries are nothing new for Buchholz, which might have factored into his decision to apologize. Red Sox fans got on his case quite a bit over the years for his propensity to land on the disabled list. But it wasn’t like Buchholz was taking unnecessary risks; he simply did his job, which entails doing a lot of unhealthy movement with his arm. Buchholz owes no one an apology.
Buchholz isn’t the only player to have apologized for getting injured. Outfielder Hideki Matsui apologized to the Yankees in 2006. Starter Masahiro Tanaka apologized in 2014. Twins reliever Glen Perkins apologized last year. Even Madison Bumgarner sort of apologized for suffering injuries riding a dirt bike on an off-day, saying “It’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made.” Because god forbid an athlete has interests and hobbies outside of his vocation.
Players are brought up in a sports culture that allows exorbitantly wealthy owners to bilk the players — laborers — at every possible turn. They’re mostly underpaid and poorly taken care of in the minors. If and when they reach the major leagues, their salaries are intentionally depressed for six years and their service time is toyed with (just ask Kris Bryant). Buchholz endured that and then endured the criticism that comes with having been a hyped prospect who mostly failed to live up to expectations. He’s gone above and beyond what he needed to do to have a successful career as a professional baseball player, even if it wasn’t as much as fans or front office personnel would have liked.
Update (5:22 PM ET): Thames is dealing with left hamstring tightness. Manager Craig Counsell says it’s “not a big deal,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Brewers first baseman Eric Thames left Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Reds in the top of the eighth inning with an apparent injury. Thames took his position to start the inning, but was replaced by Jesus Aguilar. Thames had flied out weakly to center field to end the previous inning, so perhaps something happened while he ran that out.
The Brewers should provide an update shortly on the exact nature of Thames’ early exit. Needless to say, losing Thames to the disabled list would be a huge blow to the 11-11 Brewers, as he entered Wednesday leading all of baseball in runs (25), home runs (11), slugging percentage (.929), and OPS (1.411). Thames was 1-for-3 with a single, a pair of walks, and two runs scored before leaving.