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