New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez ended his legal battle against Major League Baseball, commissioner Bud Selig and the players' association, withdrawing the lawsuits he had filed and accepting a season-long ban for use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Rodriguez's suspension is the longest in baseball history linked to PED use.
He filed notices to dismiss the suits in Manhattan federal court on Friday, nearly four weeks after arbitrator Fredric Horowitz largely upheld the penalty handed down against A-Rod last year by Selig.
Rodriguez was suspended last Aug. 5 for 211 games for violations of MLB's drug policy and collective bargaining agreement. He was one of more than a dozen players sanctioned following a probe of a now-defunct Florida anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied the banned substances.
Horowitz on Jan. 11 found there was "clear" evidence that Rodriguez, 38, had used PEDs over the past three years, although he reduced the suspension to one full regular season (162 games) and also barred him from participating in the 2014 playoffs if the Yankees qualify.
Rodriguez, who has admitted to using PEDs more than a decade ago, while playing for the Texas Rangers, maintains he has not violated MLB's drug policy since joining the Yankees in 2004.
He sued Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association in federal court on Jan. 13 in an attempt to revoke the suspension, saying the arbitration process was flawed.
However, 27 days after Horowitz' decision and with spring training set to begin in a week, the 14-time All Star did a complete about-face.
He withdrew the lawsuits filed in the wake of the arbitrator's ruling, as well as another suit brought in October against MLB and Selig for allegedly buying the cooperation of the head of the now-shuttered Biogenesis anti-aging clinic, Anthony Bosch.
MLB issued a statement that called Rodriguez's 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."
A-Rod, who ranks fifth on the big leagues' all-time home run list with 654 round-trippers, angered many of his fellow players by suing the union in a bid to avoid the suspension.
"Alex Rodriguez has done the right thing by withdrawing his lawsuit," the Major League Baseball Players Association said in a statement Friday. "His decision to move forward is in everyone's best interest." EFE