Thursday, May 07, 2009

Manny Ramirez suspended 50 games for drug test violation

ESPN:
Major League Baseball announced Thursday that Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez has been suspended for 50 games for violating its drug policy.

The commissioner's office didn't announce the specific violation by Ramirez, but in a statement Thursday provided by Major League Baseball, Ramirez attributed the violation to medication he had been prescribed by a doctor.

"Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me," Ramirez said. "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. I want to apologize to [Dodgers owner Frank] McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, [manager Joe] Torre, my teammates, the Dodger organization, and to the Dodger fans. LA is a special place to me and I know everybody is disappointed. So am I. I'm sorry about this whole situation."

After consultation with the Players' Association and his personal representatives, Ramirez waived his right to challenge the suspension. He will lose nearly $8 million of his $25 million salary.

Ramirez's test result was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Triple-A outfielder Xavier Paul has been told by the Dodgers that he will be promoted later today, according to The Times. Ramirez would be eligible to return to the Dodgers' lineup for their July 3 game against San Diego.

In his first full season as a Dodger, Ramirez is batting .348 with six home runs and 20 RBIs. Los Angeles has bolted to a 21-8 record -- best in the majors -- and a 13-0 record at home that set the modern major league record for home winning streak to start a season. They lead the NL West by 6½ games.