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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Manny Ramirez To Be Suspended 50 Games For Positive Drug Test (UPDATED)

Magic carpet ride go poof, but I still say the pitching is more of an issue. Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp are no slouches offensively; Juan Pierre's arm is a bigger problem.

Update: Do they now hand out hypodermic syringes in Mannywood?

Update 2: False positive tests can and do occur. I'm not saying that's the case here, but it does bear on the situation because Manny is claiming he was on prescription drugs that caused a false positive (PDF):

“Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. 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.

“I want to apologize to Mr. McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, Mr. 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.” – Manny Ramirez

The Dodgers have called up Xavier Paul from AAA Albuquerque.

Update 3: Corrected per David Pinto's comment below.

Here's Will Carroll:

UPDATE 2: Two sources confirm for me that Ramirez did not test positive for an anabolic steroid. What the substance was remains unclear. The press release from MLB indicates that it was not a “drug of abuse” or a “stimulant,” the other two classes of banned substances. Ramirez’s positive test came during Spring Training [emphasis mine -- RLM], which follows his story that he received the substance from a doctor this January.
Spring training? And they're just now getting to this?
UPDATE 3: Ramirez’s statement issued through the MLBPA indicates that Ramirez will not appeal his suspension and that he received the banned substance from a doctor. Ramirez was suspended under section 8.G.2 of the Joint Drug Agreement, which is “other.” In his statement, there’s no clear statement that Ramirez ever tested positive. Combined, those two facts point to a non-testable drug, but this is not confirmed. The only other known 8.G.2 suspension was Jordan Schaefer.
I hope the name of the drug eventually comes out.

Update 4: SOSG points out that the suspension will cost Manny $7.7M, as he will not be paid over the course of his suspension. Since he was on a heavily back-loaded deal in which he earns only $10M of his salary this year, does that mean he will only pick up $3.3M this calendar year? Or is it a pro-rated section of each year's earnings?

Update 5: Manny's been suspended for a sex drive enhancer?

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the substance is supposed to boost sex drive. It is not Viagra, but a substance that treats the cause rather providing a temporary boost in sexual performance, the source said.


“Testosterone and similar drugs are effective for erectile dysfunction in that they jazz up your sex drive,” said Charles Yesalis, a professor at Penn State who has testified before Congress on issues of performance-enhancing drugs. “But far more clinicians accept that affect with Viagra and Cialis. It’s hard for me to understand if it was erectile dysfunction why they would use [something else].”

Some folks aren't buying it (thanks to Maxwell in the comments):
However, two sources told ESPN's T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada that the drug used by Ramirez is hCG -- human chorionic gonadotropin. HCG is a women's fertility drug typically used by steroid users to restart their body's natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle. It is similar to Clomid, the drug Bonds, Giambi and others used as clients of BALCO.


A source with intimate knowledge of steroids told ESPN that a male athlete usually uses HCG after a cycle of steroids because steroids often shut down the testosterone-making ability of the testicles. HCG restores their capacity to make testosterone. The source said that some males may use HCG in lieu of steroids also. HCG by itself can provide a substantial boost in the bodies own testosterone, and this may provide some performance-enhancement benefits.

Update 6: Welcome to all the traffic from Halos Heaven, and an interesting comment in that thread from a chat earlier in the year with Mike DiGiovanna:
[Comment From Halotosis]
Hi, Mike. In your opinion, why were the Angels not in on Manny? Please tell me Boras played some small role.

Mike DiGiovanna:
I think Arte’s frustration with Boras over the Teixeira negotiations played a small role, but there were other way-behind-the-scene factors that I can’t even talk about …

Mike DiGiovanna:
They mainly deal with Manny’s character and some of his past actions.

How many years until a tell-al book on all the things manny did that are staying “off the record”?

Mike DiGiovanna:
Not sure, but if the one I know about ever goes public, it would make all the others seem like minor transgressions … and we’ll leave it at that.

Update 7: Aaron Gleeman calculates how many wins Manny's suspension will cost the Dodgers:
The "replacement-level hitter" tag is important, because Ramirez's primary fill-in is expected to be Juan Pierre and his .291/.332/.345 line in 1,168 plate appearances since joining the Dodgers two years ago is almost exactly replacement level. In other words, if the Dodgers were to give all 50 of Ramirez's missed starts to Pierre it would cost them 25-30 runs offensively (assuming both players hit like they have so far in Los Angeles).
Gleeman figures the Dodgers will still hold a multiple-game lead in the standings by the time Manny returns.

Update 8: Manny is still on the NL All-Star ballot. Vote early and vote often!

Update 9: Tony LaRussa, pragmatist:

St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa was talking to reporters before today's game against Pittsburgh when a clubhouse attendant stuck his head in and said: "Manny Ramirez, 50 games."

La Russa's first reaction: "You're kidding me."

Then he checked the schedule to see whether the Cardinals would be playing the Dodgers while Ramirez is out.

Kurt Streeter: "Manny Ramirez blindsided everyone but Jose Canseco" I can't endorse the piece much because it's too much of the "horrors, players took teh drugz and whocoodanode?"

Via Jon, Bob Nightengale at USA Today reports this is old news in certain MLB circles:

A different MLB official said Ramirez was notified in April that he had tested positive and initially appealed the ruling but dropped it in the past 24 hours. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not be authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
The Dodgers issued a brief statement:
"We share the disappointment felt by our fans, our players, and every member of our organization. We support the policies of Major League Baseball, and we will welcome Manny back upon his return."
The Dodgers will have a press conference at 4:30 pm PDT.

Update 10: Jay Jaffe doesn't think this will make a big difference to the Dodgers or their opponents; he suggests moving Casey Blake to left (he's never played there before but he did play right for Cleveland), and hauling up Blake DeWitt to play third.

Update 11: Joe Sheehan says it's a reset to 10 weeks ago when the Dodgers were going to feature Juan Pierre starting in left. Let's hope Joe Torre is smarter than that. More, connecting to my comments above:

Baseball fans around the world are going to get to vote, up or down, on whether Manny Ramirez should be an All-Star. In doing so they get to vote, up or down, on how they feel about a player suspended for using a substance he shouldn't have been using. No one boos Ryan Franklin, no one throws syringes at Juan Rincon, and no one argues that the home runs hit by Alex Sanchez should be stricken from the record book. Fine. Now, though, there's a ballot with a name next to a chad, and there's a website with a list of options, and a player who is clearly an All-Star based on every other criterion up for election. What are baseball fans going to do?

The 2009 National League All-Star voting is going to be the best information we yet have about how fans really feel about players suspected of using steroids. The potential for Ramirez to be voted onto the All-Star team while serving a PED suspension is easily the most interesting thing about his suspension today.

Steroids or no, I would still vote for him, just as I would Barry Bonds — if he hadn't been blackballed.

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I have yet to see a claim that this was a false positive. Where did you see that?
From Tim Brown and Steve Henson at Yahoo! Sports:

A source close to Manny Ramirez said Thursday that the illegal substance for which the Los Angeles Dodgers slugger tested positive was not "an agent customarily used for performance enhancing."

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Major League Baseball notified Ramirez of the positive test after Wednesday night’s Dodger victory over the Washington Nationals. Ramirez admitted to having taken the substance in question and declined to appeal. His 50-game suspension begins today.

"The substance is not a steroid and it is not human-growth hormone," the source said.

Ramirez, the source said, acquired the substance through a prescription from a doctor in Miami for a medical condition the source would not divulge. The source intimated that Ramirez might bring legal action against the physician.
David -- you're right, fixed above.
Apparently Manny is getting suspended for using a "sexual stimulant." And people wonder why I'm a libertarian...
Heh, if that's true, it gives new meaning to the term Mannywood.
Not everyone is buying the explanation entirely.

"However, two sources told ESPN's T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada that the drug used by Ramirez is hCG -- human chorionic gonadotropin. HCG is a women's fertility drug typically used by steroid users to restart their body's natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle. It is similar to Clomid, the drug Bonds, Giambi and others used as clients of BALCO."


Keep in mind that a lot of players have gotten banned substances from "anti-aging" clinics in Florida. Manny got this prescription from a place in Florida.
I was floored by how many millions of dollars Manny stands to lose by not playing 50 games

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