Manny Ramirez, the 2nd highest paid player in major league baseball, has been suspended for 50 games, beginning today, for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. This is being reported by the LA Times, and has been confirmed by other media outlets.
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.
This is a major blow to the Dodgers, who sport baseball's best record at 21-8. Ramirez was a major reason, batting .348 (which leads the team), and providing a major presence in the middle of the LA lineup. His absence will leave what the Times called a "gaping hole" in their batting order.
Ramirez, who had worn out his welcome in Boston last season, only to land on the west coast, and apparently in a place that agreed with "Manny being Manny." In fact, it was hard last week in my travels around greater-LA to not spot a billboard, or Dodgers' ad on a bus that didn't sport Manny's familiar visage. I was even thinking about blogging about the genius of the club's marketing department in making Manny the face of the club's promotional campaign. Then this hit.
With Jason Bay's strong start, and this revelation, Red Sox Nation has to be heaving a collective sigh of relief, even those who criticized the Red Sox for unloading Manny.
And before anyone gets too smug, realize that this latest development is less about Manny, and more about the rampant abuse of steroids at the professional level, which MLB still hasn't come to terms with. There are players in the Sox locker room that are just as "dirty" as Manny, they just haven't been caught.