Did Manny Ramirez use performance enhancing drugs?
Last night, May 6, 2009, a shocking story began to leak to the sports media. The story reported that Major League Baseball was planning to suspend superstar Manny Ramirez 50 games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Dodger’s staff were as surprised as Manny and the media, issuing terse statements or none at all. Where was Manny during all of the frenzy?
Ramirez, the clear star of his team, was finishing up a 10-3 drumming of the Washington Nationals – on the field while reports were surfacing about his impending suspension. Manny had 2 RBIs on one hit and on walk – a solid performance from one of the league’s supposedly “clean” players.
Major League Baseball issued a statement simply stating that Ramirez “tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and was suspended for 50 games.” Considering a MLB regular season lasts around 162 games per team, this is a huge suspension, and will cost Ramirez a big chunk of his new salary.
Ramirez famously signed a new contract with the LA Dodgers this past summer, after being traded to that team in July and making a huge impact – some say Ramirez is the biggest part of the Dodger’s trip last season to the playoffs. His $45 million dollar contract, spread over two years, has just been cut by a full 25% due to this suspension – a bit hit in the pocketbook for anyone, no matter how many millions they make.
Manny Ramirez issued a statement after learning of the suspension. In his statement, he claims that he was treated for a medical condition with a drug that could have triggered a false positive. Ramirez also states that he has passed over drug tests since receiving the treatment, and is confused as to why he is just now being targeted. His statement, in part:
“”[My doctor] 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.”
The basic answer to the question of whether or not Ramirez took “performance enhancing drugs” is not available yet. All we know is that Ramirez’ doctor administered a “banned substance” to him as treatment for an unnamed medical condition. We do not know the name of the substance or the specific medical condition which Ramirez was receiving treatment for.
Ramirez’ agent did not issue a statement. There are no plans for appeal, as Ramirez admits his doctor gave him a “banned substance”, and Ramirez will not return to play until July 3. The Dodgers currently hold the best record in baseball at 21-8. Ramirez has been a big part of the positive start for the Dodgers, having racked up a .338 batting average this season, and he has already hit 6 homeruns and racked up over 20 RBIs. No doubt Ramirez’ absence will hurt the team.