Alex Rodrigez' powerhouse publicist is taking a strong stance in his fight against MLB -- accusing the league of concocting a public smear campaign ... designed to humiliate him into personally cleaning up its rampant steroid mess.
As we reported, MLB wants to hold Michael Sitrick in contempt for refusing to fly to NYC to testify in its case to suspend A-Rod for using steroids.
Sitrick had previously refused on the grounds it was inconvenient to make the 2,400-mile trip from L.A. to New York ... but now he's filed new legal docs, accusing MLB of playing extra dirty by filing the contempt request.
In the docs, Sitrick claims the contempt request was filed just to gain publicity and nationally shame him into testifying. He now insists he has the right to refuse questioning completely.
But why does MLB want Sitrick so badly? One theory is it's because the league is taking a beating in the media right now -- with reports circulating that MLB acquired steroid evidence against A-Rod through shady means -- and it wants Sitrick to make A-Rod look like the shady one instead.
Sitrick now wants a judge to order MLB to buzz off once and for all.