(AP Photo of Manny Ramirez)
Shocking news this morning out of Los Angeles, where the L.A. Times is reporting that outfielder Manny Ramirez has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, leading to a 50-game suspension. (Story from the L.A. Times here)
His suspension is set to start with tonight’s game, which of course is against your Washington Nationals.
Ramirez made his presence known in last night’s game, a 10-3 Dodgers win over the Nationals. (story here from Mark Zuckerman). His 2-RBI double was part of a 7-run sixth inning that blew the game open for Los Angeles.
Tonight, the Dodgers won’t have that big bat in their lineup. An announcement is expected later today from the team as this story comes to a full boil by mid-afternoon, West Coast time.
Ramirez in the offseason signed a 2-year, $45-million contract with the Dodgers; that first year is guaranteed at $25 million. He’s helped lead the Dodgers to a 21-8 record to start the season, best in the majors, which includes a 13-0 mark at home.
More later today from Mark Zuckerman (this day just got a little more interesting for him), who’s out there with the Nationals, and columnist Thom Loverro.
UPDATE (12:33 p.m. ET)
Major League Baseball has put out an official statement (link here):
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that outfielder Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been suspended for 50 games for a violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension of Ramirez is effective immediately.
And, the MLB Players association put out a release with an interesting statement from Manny Ramirez (link to PDF of release here):
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.
The MLBPA in its statement said: Manny, after consultation with the Players Association and his personal representatives, waived his right to challenge that suspension.
UPDATE (12:43 p.m.)
We have an AP story up on the site now (click here); that soon will be replaced with a story by Mark Zuckerman, who is out in L.A. with the Washington Nationals, who play the Dodgers again this evening.
UPDATE (1:29 p.m.)
We have a fresh story up on the site from Mark Zuckerman: Ramirez suspended for 50 games
UPDATE (2:15 p.m.)
If this Yahoo! Sports report is correct, Manny will be missing 50 games because of a sex-drive enhancer.
From the Yahoo! report:
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.