Ryan: Careful, Manny could be telling the truth

Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe urges everyone to be careful before judging Manny Ramirez on his 50-game suspension, because the slugger could be telling the truth that steroids had nothing to do with his positive drug test.

If there’s a profile of a banned substance abuser — and I’m not sure there is — Manny does not fit it. Sudden change in body configuration? Nope. Big surge in power output? Nope. Manny never even hit 50. He did have a homer jump from 26 in 1997 to 45 in 1998, but that was after hitting 31 in 1995 and 33 in 1996. He was a maturing young slugger; that’s all. I think.

But Manny has otherwise been a consistent power hitter for the last dozen years. There have been no red flags.

It’s very easy, and logical, to accept the idea that Manny has just messed up. Consider that the reason pitcher J.C. Romero is currently serving his 50-game suspension for use of a banned substance is that he swears he had absolutely no reason to think there was anything sinister in what he was given. J.C. sure wasn’t getting by on his heat. I’m inclined to believe him.

But if Manny isn’t telling the truth, then we are once again reminded that this quest of ours to evaluate baseball in both its recent past and its present may be a fruitless endeavor. If Manny has done something bad knowingly, we can assume he’s not the only one, and then we are back in the business of suspecting anyone who hits a home run (Well, maybe not in Yankee Stadium). I hate that.

If Manny is telling the truth, shouldn’t it be easy to prove? There would be some kind of doctor’s record, correct? We really should be able to get to the bottom of it, correct? This doesn’t mean that if Manny has indeed innocently ingested a no-no product he shouldn’t do the time. Players are ultimately responsible for what goes in to their bodies, and they all have to know the rules. But if that really is what happened, at least we can breathe the big sigh of relief and go back to focusing our wrath on real cheaters, like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

I just can’t shake the fact that Manny would take a drug like HCG without intending to use it as a trigger for testosterone production, which is depleted by steroid use. And if he did have erectile dysfunction, why would a physician (if Manny even saw) prescribe a women’s fertility drug over Viagra or Cialis? It just doesn’t add up, although I’m not a physician so maybe there is a logical explanation behind it. (Plus, let’s not discount the fact that Manny is a freaking kook and might have taken the drug because he thought it would give him mystical powers or something.)

Chances are that we’ll never get a full explanation as to why Manny took the drug, at least not one that wasn’t fed to him by the Dodgers’ P.R. staff. When he comes back from his suspension, he’ll likely give all the cookie-cutter responses like, “I just want to move on” and “I’m not talking about that anymore – I’m here to help my team win.”

Either way, let’s hope that this suspension means that MLB is finally starting to control its steroid problem and that it won’t be afraid to hand out more lofty suspensions to prominent stars.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Do the Giants have the most to gain from Manny’s suspension?

For at least a moment, let’s put away all of the Manny-Ramirez-disgraced-the-game headlines and talk a little baseball, shall we?

Who stands to gain the most from Manny’s 50-game suspension? Your answer might be the San Francisco Giants.

The Dodgers are the best team in the NL West regardless whether or not Ramirez is in their lineup. Andre Ethier is absolutely raking at the plate, Orlando Hudson is getting on base like it’s his life mission and 24-year old Chad Billingsley (5-0, 2.21 ERA, 42 Ks) is pitching like a Cy Young candidate.

The loss of Manny certainly hurts, but it’s not like the Dodgers have been a one-man wrecking crew in amassing the league’s best record to this point. Guys like Ethier, Hudson, James Loney and a couple of live arms in the starting rotation are good enough to compete in a weak NL West with or without Ramirez.

But there’s no question that having Manny in the lineup makes Ethier, Hudson and Loney better, while Juan Pierre (Ramirez’s sub in left field) is a massive drop off in every offensive category outside of stolen bases. The bottom line is that the Dodgers are a better offensive club with Ramirez in the lineup – much better.

Heading into Friday’s action, the Dodgers own a 5.5-game lead over the Giants, a 7.5-game lead over the Padres and 8.5-game leads over the Diamondbacks and Rockies in the NL West. Arizona can’t hit and is in turmoil after firing manager Bob Melvin, Colorado still has plenty of young talent but has been inconsistent to this point and one has to wonder if San Diego will stay competitive long enough not to be tempted to trade ace Jake Peavy in order to start building for the future.

That leaves San Francisco, who at 14-13 certainly isn’t a powerhouse, but it has enough pieces to make a run at the Manny-less Dodgers.

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Source: Ramirez tested positive for sexual enhancer

According to Yahoo! Sports, the illegal substance that Manny Ramirez tested positive for is supposed to boost sex drive.

Two sources said Ramirez tested positive for a gonadotropin. Major League baseball’s list of banned substances includes the gonadotropins LH and HCG, which are most commonly used by women as fertility drugs. They also can be used to trigger testosterone production. Testosterone is depleted by steroid use, which can cause sexual dysfunction.

“Testosterone and similar drugs are effective for erectile dysfunction in that they jazz up your sex drive,” said Charles Yesalis, a professor at Penn State who has testified before Congress on issues of performance-enhancing drugs. “But far more clinicians accept that affect with Viagra and Cialis. It’s hard for me to understand if it was erectile dysfunction why they would use it.”

Ramirez tested positive for the substance during spring training, then was administered a second test more recently, and it also was positive. Major League Baseball notified Ramirez of the second positive test after Wednesday night’s Dodgers victory over the Washington Nationals. Ramirez admitted to having taken the substance and declined to appeal. His 50-game suspension begins today.

“The substance is not a steroid and it is not human-growth hormone,” the source said.

Hey, you can’t fault a man for taking something to add a little pep in his step, but the question is – why did he take it? Was he using it to correct erectile dysfunction because he was on steroids and his testosterone was depleted? Or was it just because he has erectile dysfunction? If it’s the latter, then it’s hardly anyone’s business and it’s unfortunate that Ramirez was suspended 50 games for it. But if it’s the former, then he should fry.

Either way, you can’t blame MLB for having LH and HCG on the list of banned substances because you don’t know if players are using it to mask their steroid use. And considering he tested positive for the substance in spring training, what a slap in the face of the Dodgers, who Manny and Scott Boras put through negotiation hell all offseason.

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Manny: Drugs came from physician for personal health issue

Manny Ramirez to be suspended 50 games for positive PED test

Manny: Drugs came from physician for personal health issue

After being suspended by Major League Baseball for 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, Manny Ramirez released an official statement saying the drugs were from a physician he saw in Florida for a personal health issue. Ramirez also won’t appeal the suspension.

“Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me,” Ramirez said. “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 [Dodgers owner Frank] McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, [manager Joe] 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.”

After consultation with the Players’ Association and his personal representatives, Ramirez waived his right to challenge the suspension. He will lose nearly $8 million of his $25 million salary.

I don’t know if it’s fair to make assumptions at this point, but for Major League Baseball to hand out a 50 game suspension, you know Manny had to be on something significant. Or else why wouldn’t he or the Dodgers try to appeal the suspension? The Dodgers stand to lose a ton of money because of this ruling, especially when you consider how their entire 2009 marketing campaign centers around Ramirez. So they must know an appeal would be a lost cause.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Dodgers react to this on the field. They currently have the best record in baseball and play in a weak NL West, but everything revolves around Ramirez in that lineup. Players like Orlando Hudson and Andre Ethier have greatly benefited from hitting around Manny and L.A.’s offense takes a huge hit with him out of the lineup.

If the Giants, Padres, Diamondbacks and Rockies were looking for a jolt, they just got one.

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Source: Ramirez tested positive for sexual enhancer

Manny Ramirez to be suspended 50 games for positive PED test

Manny Ramirez to be suspended 50 games for positive PED test

According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, Dodgers’ outfielder Manny Ramirez will receive a 50 game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

The suspension will cost Ramirez $7.7 million, or roughly 31% of his $25-million salary. Players in violation of baseball’s drug policy are not paid during suspensions.

Ramirez is expected to attribute the test results to medication received from a doctor for a personal medical issue, according to a source familiar with matter but not authorized to speak publicly.

With the suspension taking effect with tonight’s game against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium, Ramirez will not be eligible to return to the team until July 3.

Ramirez would become the biggest star suspended under an oft-criticized major league testing program that started in 2003. He had been a model citizen since arriving in Los Angeles last August, following a stormy tenure with the Boston Red Sox.

This is the second drug scandal to rock baseball within four months. In a year in which baseball officials hoped their greatest concern would be the slumping economy, the two highest-paid players in the game have been revealed to have failed a drug test.

Alex Rodriguez, the game’s highest-paid player, acknowledged during a February news conference that he used steroids from 2001 to 2003. The admission followed a Sports Illustrated report that he failed a drug test in 2003, when players were not subject to suspension.

Ramirez did not appear in the clubhouse after the Dodgers’ 10-3 victory over the Washington Nationals Wednesday night. After the game, Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti and Manager Joe Torre said they were unaware of any failed test or pending suspension.

Remember, he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug – that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was steroids. In fact, Peter Gammons said on ESPN that he doesn’t believe it was a positive steroid test and quite frankly, I hope it wasn’t. Baseball doesn’t need another star to be caught taking roids – it’s bad for the game and although Man-Ram is a bit nutty, he’s always been known as one of the best pure hitters in the game and I hope his accomplishments are pure.

Either way, this devastating news for the Dodgers, who still have enough talent to win in a weak NL West, but suffer a massive downgrade in their lineup if Juan Pierre takes over in left field.

Good for Major League Baseball, though. Baseball fans like to (rightfully) hammer the weak testing policy that baseball seldom enforces, but the suspension of a huge star like Ramirez maybe proves that times are changing. Maybe Bud Selig is finally starting to clean up the game that he helped soil for so long and hopefully more suspensions like this are coming for any player that fails a PED test.

I can’t help but to chuckle thinking about how long Ramirez and Scott Boras dragged out their negotiations with the Dodgers last offseason in order to get the most possible money and now he stands to lose $7.7 million with this suspension. Yet I feel bad for the Dodgers because not only did they have to wonder all offseason whether or not they would have Ramirez back in their lineup, but now they lose their biggest slugger for 50 games. It’s a shame.

By the way, that noise you hear is thousands of Red Sox fans laughing their collective asses off.

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Source: Ramirez tested positive for sexual enhancer

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