Continued from page 1

Braun’s 50-game suspension for a positive test was overturned in February by arbitrator Shyam Das after Braun’s lawyers argued his urine sample was not handled in the manner specified by baseball’s drug agreement. Das, who had been baseball’s permanent arbitrator since 1999, was fired this spring.

The Braun case led to revisions in the drug agreement between owners and the players’ association to better define procedures for handling the urine samples.

Last December, slugger Manny Ramirez received a 50-game suspension for a second positive drug test. The 12-time All-Star signed a one-year minor league contract with the Oakland Athletics on Feb. 20, but was released in June per his request while playing for Triple-A Sacramento before even reaching the big leagues with the A’s.

Ramirez retired from the Tampa Bay Rays in April 2011 rather than serve a 100-game suspension for a second failed drug test. The penalty was cut to 50 games because he sat out nearly all of last season.

The 28-year-old Cabrera, who became a marketing phenomenon this year with nicknames like “Got Melk?” “Melk Man” and “Melky Way,” produced a 51-hit month in May. Cabrera batted .429 in May with three homers, five triples, seven doubles and 17 RBIs. He hit safely in 25 of 29 games. The 51 hits matched Randy Winn for most hits in a month since the club came to San Francisco in 1958.

Cabrera also set the San Francisco record for most hits in May, passing Hall of Famer Willie Mays’ 49 from 1958.

“My first reaction, extremely saddened _ a great kid who’s having a great run,” former Yankees teammate Alex Rodriguez said. “Just sadness overall.”

A-Rod tutored both Cabrera and Robinson Cano when they were coming up, even inviting Cabrera to Miami to work out with him in recent years.

“I’m sure he’s sad and confused,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a young man and has a great opportunity _ and challenge _ to turn a negative into a positive.”

Cabrera came to the Giants in a trade with Kansas City last November that sent left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals. Cabrera _ who signed a $6 million, one-year deal to avoid salary arbitration _ batted .305 with 44 doubles, 18 homers and 87 RBIs last season.

He is a big reason San Francisco began play Wednesday tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the NL West. Cabrera had been listed in the original lineup for the series finale with the Washington Nationals, batting third and playing left field. Gregor Blanco replaced Cabrera.

San Francisco said it will not make a roster move until Thursday’s off day before opening a weekend series at San Diego. The clubhouse was closed before the game when the news of Cabrera’s suspension broke.

“Sad, man,” Cano said. “He’s a friend. I’m going to be there for him. I never talked to him about anything like that. Sad day.”

___

AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum and Howie Rumberg in New York contributed to this report.