NEW YORK (AP) — The grievance hearing over Alex Rodriguez's 211-game suspension began Monday before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.

The New York Yankees third baseman was accompanied by lawyers when he arrived for the session at Major League Baseball's headquarters in midtown Manhattan.

A three-time American League MVP, Rodriguez was suspended Aug. 5 for alleged violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract. Because he's a first offender under the drug program and the players' association filed a grievance to force an appeal, a suspension can't start until it is upheld by an arbitrator.

The union argues the discipline is without just cause and is excessive. If the case doesn't settle, a decision by Horowitz is expected this winter.

Rodriguez was among 14 players penalized by MLB this year following the sport's investigation of Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Florida, accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. The others accepted their penalties, including former National League MVP Ryan Braun, who missed the season's final 65 games.

Biogenesis head Anthony Bosch was at the hearing to testify — a publicist released a photo of him in a hallway outside MLB's conference rooms.

In Florida, state authorities said they had started a criminal investigation of the clinic.

"A subpoena was issued for documents, and we are looking into several areas of state interest," said Ed Griffith, spokesman for Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Existence of the state prosecutors' criminal subpoena was disclosed at a recent hearing in MLB's lawsuit in Miami against Biogenesis, also pending in Miami-Dade County court. It's not known whom the subpoena targeted or what specific documents are being sought.

A federal probe involves the sources of drugs the clinic is accused of selling to players.

 

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