Another prominent member of the 500 Home Run Club has been associated with taking a banned substance.
Slugging outfielder Manny Ramirez, who has led the Dodgers to the best record in baseball, tested positive for a banned performance enhancing drug and has been suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball. Ramirez will not be allowed to join his teammates until July 3.
Ramirez claims he used a doctor-prescribed medication, but he waived his right to challenge 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 in a statement. “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 Mr. McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, Mr. 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."
Earlier this spring, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez admitted to taking steroids from 2000 to 2003 after a book and Sports Illustrated report found evidence of his use. MLB testing at that time did not carry punishment and the results were supposed to be anonymous.
ESPN cited two sources and reported that the drug used by Ramirez was human chorionic gonadatropin (HCG), a women's fertility drug. The drug is often taken by steroid users when they come off a steroid cycle in order to restart their body's natural production of testosterone, according to the report.
"We share the disappointment felt by our fans, our players, and every member of our organization," Los Angeles Dodgers CEO Jamie McCourt said in a statement. "We support the policies of Major League Baseball, and we will welcome Manny back upon his return."
In 27 games, Ramirez is batting .348 with six home runs and 20 RBIs. He is among league leaders in slugging and on-base percentage.