MANHATTAN (CN) - Major League Baseball sought to "bring down" Alex Rodriguez "at all costs" to salvage its image amid ongoing doping scandals, a lawyer for the Yankee told a federal judge Thursday.
MLB "took the opportunity to bring down one of the biggest names in the sport," attorney Jordan Siev with Reed Smith told U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield in Manhattan Federal Court.
Siev added that the conduct of MLB and its commissioner, Allen "Bud" Selig, "was way over the line."
The New York Yankees third baseman was not in court for the initial conference.
Siev said Selig and others paid, followed and threatened witnesses, and leaked documents to the press "to poison the well" against Rodriguez.
MLB lawyer Joseph Baumgarten with Proskauer Rose urged the judge to dismiss the case, and refuted claims against the organization. "The allegations are either overstated, misstated or simply false," Baumgarten said.
Rodriguez sued MLB and Selig last month, arguing that their $5 million promise to Biogenesis led to his unprecedented 211-game suspension in August after an investigation determined he used testosterone and human-growth hormones over several years.
The lawsuit accused Selig and others of "making an example" of him and engaging in "tortious and egregious conduct with one, and only one goal: to improperly marshal evidence that they hope to use to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez."
Rodriguez also says the MLB paid Tony Bosch, former head of Biogenesis, $5 million to "buy his cooperation in monthly payments."
In court Thursday, Rodriguez's attorneys said MLB "cut a deal" with Bosch "to get him to cooperate" in exchange for a promise to "put in a good word" for him as he faces an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office and a Florida attorney for allegedly providing steroids to minors.
According to the lawsuit, the MLB "reached rock bottom" when it promised Bosch that it would drop its lawsuit in exchange for his cooperation against other players.
Rodriguez also says the MLB paid "millions" to investigators, former Biogenesis employees and others for testimony and secret documents.
Rodriguez followed up his lawsuit against MLB with another one a few days later in the Bronx, accusing his doctor of failing to diagnose his hip injury that allowed him to further injure himself during last year's baseball playoffs.
In the case against MLB, Schofield ordered that motions are due Nov. 8, with responses due on Dec. 15. The parties face a conference on Jan. 23.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.