Alex Rodriguez says his record contract makes him an attractive target for a baseball ban or suspension, and may play a major role in his current woes.
The slugger with a stellar batting average faces allegations involving the use of performance-enhancing drugs. ESPN reported he is in negotiations with Major League Baseball over a possible suspension of his contract, the largest in the history of American sports.
"There is more than one party that benefits from me not ever stepping back on the field -- and that's not my teammates and it's not the Yankee fans," Rodriguez said Friday night at a news conference in Trenton, N.J., following a minor-league game that was supposed to prepare him to rejoin the New York Yankees.
He would not specify the parties that stood to gain from banning him over the PED scandal, but he said, "when all this stuff is going on in the background and people are finding creative ways to cancel your contract and stuff like that, I think that's concerning for me."
Rodriguez, a three-time American League Most Valuable Player, and the Yankees signed the 10-year deal for $275 million in 2007.
Rodriguez, 38, has missed the entire 2013 season after undergoing hip surgery. He could return to the Yankees after a second rehab game in Trenton on Saturday.
He has admitted in the past to using performance-enhancing drugs, but he also has denied taking any after 2003. He has never been suspended by the league for a drug violation.