The Los Angeles Dodgers took a big hit Thursday (May 7), when news broke that their star outfielder Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games by the MLB in a sports drug scandal.
According to reports, Ramirez has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, resulting in the suspension.
In a statement released through baseball’s players’ union, Ramirez said the dirty test was the result of a medication prescribed by a doctor, and not from a steroid.
However, he waived his right to challenge the suspension.
“Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue,” the Dodgers star said in the statement. “He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was okay to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility.
“I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I’ve taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons,” Ramirez continued.
The revelation is the second major drug scandal to hit baseball in the last few months. In February, Alex Rodriguez admitted taking steroids while playing for Texas from 2001-03. That came before the start of testing with penalties under a program agreed to by players and management. A.Rod, however, doesn’t look like he’ll be suspended.
Ramirez is the third player suspended this year under the major league program, following Philadelphia reliever J.C. Romero and Yankees pitcher Sergio Mitre.
Last year, according to the AP, two relatively low-profile players were suspended — San Francisco catcher Elizier Alfonzo and Colorado catcher Humberto Coto.
Before Ramirez, the best-known player penalized was Baltimore’s Rafael Palmeiro, who received a 10-day suspension in 2005, the first year of penalties.
After the 2008 season, Ramirez re-upped with the Dodgers, signing a two-year, $45 million contract. So far, this season, he’s helped lead the ball club to a league leading 21-8 record. The team also set major league record for home wins to start a season with 13.
He’s currently batting .348 with six homers and 20 RBIs.