Manny to begin rehab assignment soon

The Los Angeles Times writes that Manny Ramirez is scheduled to join the Dodgers’ Triple-A squad on Tuesday and begin his rehab assignment.

Ramirez, who will be eligible to play again for the Dodgers on July 3, can play in as many as 10 minor league games at the end of his 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy.

According to preliminary plans Ramirez and the Dodgers made Thursday morning, he will be in Albuquerque for a four-game series against Nashville.

Ramirez will be off June 27 and report to Class-A Inland Empire the next day. He will play in as many as three games for Inland Empire from June 28-30.

He will work out with the Dodgers on July 1, travel with them July 2 and play in the first game of a three-game series in San Diego on July 3.

It’s amazing that the end of Manny’s 50-game suspension is already near. At the start of it, everyone wondered how the Dodgers would fare without him and the results are in: GREAT.

The Dodgers currently have the best record in baseball and remain a whopping nine games above the Giants in the NL West. They’re essentially doing their best Angels impersonation, because they’re going to wrap up their division by late July or early August.

That said, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of effect Manny has on the clubhouse. Considering they’re winning, I assume that the effect will be minimum to positive. I can’t see how adding his bat to their lineup will be a bad thing.

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Report: Manny’s drug test flagged for elevated testosterone, not hCG

According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, Manny Ramirez’s drug test was flagged by MLB for elevated levels of synthetic testosterone, not hCG as was initially believed.

The newspaper reported that no trace of hCG, the banned substance for which the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder was suspended, was found in his system at the time of the drug test, according to three sources with specific knowledge of the test. But according to one source with knowledge of the test, it was was flagged for having a synthetic testosterone level four times the amount of the average male.

Baseball officials had begun the disciplinary process for the drug test when they obtained Ramirez’s medical records and learned he had a prescription for hCG, which is commonly prescribed for women as a fertility drug and is a banned substance in baseball’s drug program. At that point, Ramirez was suspended for “just cause,” based on the prescription and the fact he had not sought an exemption for it, and Ramirez dropped his appeals and took the suspension, according to the report.

Before the prescription came to light, Ramirez was expected to argue on appeal that the elevated testosterone level was caused by DHEA, according to authorities familiar with MLB’s testing procedure, the Times reported.

The World Anti-Doping Agency considers DHEA a steroid and has banned its use, but it is not a banned substance under baseball’s drug policy. DHEA is produced by the adrenal gland and serves as a precursor to male and female sex hormones.

The Times reported that according to those same authorities, Ramirez’s test would not have been declared a positive if it were known that DHEA had caused the spike in his testosterone-epitestosterone (T-E) ratio.

But one of the three sources with information about the test results said baseball had three “powerful analytic foundations” to say the positive drug test was not caused by DHEA, according to the Times.

I realize this is just a report. Nothing has been confirmed and nothing probably will be confirmed by Manny or MLB. However, this is pretty damning evidence for Ramirez.

Let’s sum this up, shall we?

Manny is told that he will be suspended for a positive PED test. He plans to appeal the suspension on the basis that his positive test was the cause of DHEA, which he knows isn’t on baseball’s banned list. But when he found out that MLB had evidence that the positive drug test was not caused by DHEA, he backed down.

Furthermore, he had elevated testosterone levels four times the amount of the average male. Four…times. And oh-by-the-way, he also had a prescription filled out for hCG, which is a drug known to help restore testosterone levels for those coming off steroid cycles.

This guy was (allegedly) juicing! He was (allegedly) on the juice! He (allegedly) got caught with steroids!

Again, this is just a report so we cannot take it as complete truth, especially when there are unnamed sources involved. But this could possibly be the smoking gun that was begging to come out as soon as the suspension was handed down.

Manny had elevated testosterone level

According to a report by, Dodgers’ slugger Manny Ramirez had synthetic testosterone in his body when he was tested this past spring.

Ultimately, Ramirez was brought down by his own private medical records — records that the Major League Baseball Players’ Association turned over on his behalf, as required under the sport’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

The Ramirez saga, as described by three sources with direct knowledge of the case, began to play out in spring training when the 36-year-old outfielder provided a urine sample for testing.
The test came back showing elevated levels of testosterone. Every individual naturally produces testosterone and a substance called epitestosterone, typically at a ratio of 1:1. In Major League Baseball, if the ratio comes in at 4:1 during testing, a player is flagged. In Ramirez’s case, his ratio was between 4:1 and 10:1, according to one source.

Within the records was a prescription written for the drug human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) — No. 55 on the list of banned performance-enhancing substances in the policy. The drug is mainly used for female fertility issues, but it is best known among male steroid users as a substance that can help kick-start the body’s production of natural testosterone, which is stymied when using synthetic testosterone (aka steroids).

The biggest question left unanswered in all of this is how long Manny was taking PEDs. Did he start in Boston? Did he start last offseason when he and Scott Boras were trying to get him a long-term contract? Barry Bonds started using when his body was falling apart, so Manny could have started using PEDs when he got to L.A., although it’s doubtful. Either way, we can’t come to any conclusions on when he started using – we can only speculate.

But one thing is for sure – the smoking gun will eventually come out. It did with Bonds, Michael Vick, Roger Clemens (well, sort of – if you believe Brian McNamee it came out) and Alex Rodriguez. Eventually some reporter stumbles onto the most damning evidence of them all, and I’m sure Manny’s situation won’t be the exception.

If Manny was juicing in Boston, are Red Sox championships tainted?

When you put aside the notion that he cheated the game of baseball for his own personal gain, what most people are generally upset about in regards to Barry Bonds and steroids is that he broke Hank Aaron’s home run record. Not only was he allegedly juicing, but in doing so, he also broke one of the most sacred records in all of baseball and most are calling for his name to be scratched from the record books.

In the wake of Manny Ramirez’s 50-game suspension, there’s another topic that should be broached, similar to Bonds’ home run record. Considering Manny hit cleanup for the Red Sox’ two championship teams this decade and also won MVP of Boston’s World Series sweep of the Cardinals in 2004, should the BoSox’ titles be considered tainted if Ramirez was on steroids?

To get the semantics out of the way first, no, Manny didn’t test positive for steroids. He only tested positive for a women’s fertility drug that is often used by athletes and bodybuilders to restore testosterone levels after steroid cycles. To be fair, Ramirez has never tested positive for steroids and therefore anything linking him to PEDs should be considered speculation.

However, if we’re truly being fair, Bonds never tested positive for steroids either. Yet, because his head grew to the size of a small watermelon and his physique went from Bruce Banner to the Incredible Hulk over the course of only a couple of years, it’s safe to say that Bonds was on some kind of human growth hormone and therefore his accomplishments should be questioned and criticized.

And so should the Red Sox’s two World Series titles.

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Dodgers’ owner furious with Manny

According to the Los Angeles Times, Manny Ramirez recently met with Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt and general manger Ned Colletti since being suspended for 50-games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug and as expected, McCourt ain’t happy.

McCourt is said to be furious with Ramirez and was demanding that the All-Star outfielder call him, according to sources familiar with the situation who weren’t authorized to discuss the matter.

Among McCourt’s other demands is that Ramirez address his teammates. One source said that is “unlikely” to happen today when the Dodgers conclude an 11-game homestand, but “might” take place during the six-game trip that starts Tuesday in Philadelphia. A possibility exists that Ramirez could face the team on the second half of the trip, in his off-season hometown of Miami.

What was clear on Saturday was that the issue of Ramirez’s speaking to his teammates was more important to McCourt than it was to Dodgers Manager Joe Torre.

“I don’t think addressing the team is necessary,” Torre said. “I think it is important that the players get a chance to say something. I don’t think we need anything formal.”

I don’t blame McCourt one bit for being furious about this entire situation. He and Colletti had to do the negotiation dance with Manny and his agent for months before Ramirez finally agreed to a two-year, $45 million contract in March. And for all his trouble, McCourt now has to sit idle as his best hitter and marketing piece miss 50 games because Manny got caught masking steroids tested positive for a PED.

Far be it for me to disagree with anything Joe Torre has to say, but I side with McCourt in that Manny needs to address the team. He needs to look his teammates in the eyes and say, “I screwed up and I need to pay for what I did. But if you’ll have me back, I’ll make it up to you in July when I come back.” I think Manny personally addressing the situation is better than everyone attempting to sweep it under the rug until after the 50-game suspension. He needs to show a little humility and I think his teammates would respect that (even if the rest of us wouldn’t).

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