A zillion media outlets picked up on the Manny Ramirez story today. AfP carries the outlines:
Ramirez is the first marquee player to be suspended under MLB's stepped-up drug policy which followed the damaging Mitchell Report investigation into steroid use in baseball.
The 12-time all-star Ramirez, who turns 37 later this month, is also the best player in the Los Angeles Dodgers squad who have won 13-straight games at home and have the top record in baseball.
US sports broadcaster ESPN reported that Ramirez tested positive for the drug human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG.
As other reports indicate HCG is used for testosterone support. The letters stand for human chorionic gonadotropin. The hormone level rises in pregnancy, which constitutes the urine pregnancy test. Perhaps Manny is simply pregnant? According to Manny it's a doctor's fault:
Ramirez's ban is effective immediately which means he will not be eligible to return to the Los Angeles lineup until July 3.
Ramirez, of the Dominican Republic, blamed the positive drug test on a doctor, but didn't say whether it was a Dodgers team doctor.
He denied taking steroids and said the problem stems from medication he took for personal use.
"Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid," Ramirez said. "I have taken and passed 15 drug tests over the past five seasons."
Is it ludicrous to believe Manny? Not really. Here are the indications for HCG:
Manny would not be taking the drug for infertility. Hopefully his testicles have 'dropped down'. It is concevable (no pun intended) that the hormone was prescribed for low sperm count. If so, there would be no reason for Manny and his doctor not to obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).
Manny could be using the hormone to boost testosterone after a cycle of anabolic steroids. If he got nailed in the spring he would have been finishing a cycle in preparation for the baseball season. Use of an anabolic steroid reduces a man's own natural testosterone production. Thus the need for a drug like HCG.
Ramirez will lose 50 games and 7.7 million dollars.
As Renault says: I am shocked, shocked to find that juicing is going on in here!" No one in 2009 should be shocked a star like Manny juices.