— Days Without Shea —

Filed under: Baseball
by Kingman on May 7 at 2:45PM
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I think the "Manny or no Manny" debate of the 2009 winter was settled today. If you voted "No Manny," you won.

Manny Ramirez, who will be suspended 50 games for a first-time positive test, signed a two-year, $45 million contract before the season.

Ramirez's suspension will begin Thursday night, Major League Baseball said in a statement, and will cost him about a third of his $25 million salary this year. He will be eligible to return July 3.

Ramirez said in a statement released by the players' association that he had been given a medication, not a steroid, that a doctor had recently prescribed him for a personal health issue.

"Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy," Ramirez said. "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 suspension shows that baseball's drug program is working. But it once again tarnished one of the game's premier sluggers. Ramirez joins the ranks of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwireAlex Rodriguez, who have all been tied to the use of performance-enhancing drugs over the past decade. Unlike Ramirez, those players were not suspended because their alleged use came before 2004, the year M.L.B. began suspending players for a positive test. and

Ramirez's suspension may take away some of the focus on Rodriguez, who admitted using a performance-enhancing substance from 2001 to 2003 after it was revealed he tested positive for steroids in a preliminary phase of baseball's drug testing system in 2003. Major League Baseball, however, is investigating whether Rodriguez lied to its investigators about the time period in which he used the drugs.

Ramirez's loss will jolt the Dodgers, who on Wednesday night set a modern major league record with their 13th straight home victory to start the season. Their 21-8 record is the best in baseball.

Ramirez joined the Dodgers through a trade from the Boston Red Sox in August. He propelled the Dodgers to the playoffs last season, hitting .396 with 17 homers after the trade. He signed a two-year, $45 million contract before this season and was hitting .348 with 6 homers and 20 R.B.I. in 27 games.

Ramirez apologized to his Dodgers teammates, owners and Manager Joe Torre. "L.A. is a special place to me and I know everybody is disappointed," he said. "So am I. I'm sorry about this whole situation."





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