Alex Rodriguez drops final lawsuit

NEW YORK -- With the New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez in agreement that they expect him to return to play in 2015, A-Rod is trying to clear the remaining debris left from his aggressive tactics during the Biogenesis investigation.

To that end, Rodriguez dropped his malpractice lawsuit against Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad, and New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center "for the sole purpose of having no legal distractions" as the third baseman anticipates returning to play after the season-long suspension he's serving this year, attorney Alan S. Ripka said. It is the final of three separate lawsuits Rodriguez filed that involved the Yankees, Major League Baseball, commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB Players Association.

"He wants to focus on being the best baseball player he can be, the best Yankee he can be, and wants nothing to distract him from those goals," Ripka said.

Rodriguez stopped pursuing the first two lawsuits in February shortly after his appeal of his suspension resulted in a reduction from 211 games to 162.

When Rodriguez's suspension ends, he is eligible to return for the 2015 season. He is owed $61 million over the final three years of his 10-year, $275 million contract. He also can earn $6 million more if he hits six homers and ties Willie Mays on the all-time list with 660.

"He is under contract, so you kind of expect him to be back," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Obviously, sitting out a year, as players have seen, is not the easiest thing to do. You have to try to stay as prepared as you can, doing whatever it takes to stay prepared."

One source with knowledge of the Yankees' thinking told ESPN New York that the team is prepared to take Rodriguez back, "If he can still play."

Rodriguez, 39 in July, is determined to be ready, according to his spokesman, Ron Berkowitz.

"All legal matters have been resolved and Alex looks forward to being on the field in 2015," Berkowitz said. "Alex is working out and looking forward to 2015."

Rodriguez has had two serious hip injuries. The second limited him to just 44 games in 2013, when he hit .244 with seven homers and 19 RBIs.

The suit against Dr. Ahmad and New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center alleged that Dr. Ahmad misdiagnosed the hip injury that the third baseman played through during the 2012 playoffs.

Ahmad's lawyer, Peter T. Crean, said the orthopedic surgeon was very pleased with the development, which he described as "demonstrating that Dr. Ahmad's care was complete and appropriate."

For now, Rodriguez is trying to lay low before making his comeback next spring. His actions to drop all the suits were due in part because he is trying to make peace so he can return to the field again.

In Rodriguez' place, the Yankees have played Yangervis Solarte and Kelly Johnson at third. Solarte had been the biggest surprise on the team before slumping lately. He is hitting .270 with six homers and 29 RBIs in 64 games.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.