Ramirez Flunks Drug Test, Draws 50-Game Ban
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2009 8:00 PM CDT
Los Angeles Dodgers star Manny Ramirez makes faces in the dugout against the Arizona Diamondbacks, April 11, 2009, in Phoenix.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Manny Ramirez has tested positive for a banned substance and will be suspended for 50 games beginning immediately, the Los Angeles Times reports. Reports have identified the substance as HCG, a drug commonly used to treat female infertility but also taken to raise testosterone levels at the end of steroid treatments. The substance is intended to boost sex drive and "is not a steroid and it is not human-growth hormone," a source told Yahoo Sports. The suspension runs through July 3 and will cost Ramirez nearly $8 million.

"Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was okay to give me," Ramirez said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy." He added, "I've taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past 5 seasons"—in other words, since Major League Baseball instituted its testing program. Ramirez is by far the biggest star busted under the program.