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Page last updated at 17:01 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 18:01 UK

Ramirez given 50-game suspension

Manny Ramirez
Ramirez is one of 25 players to have hit over 500 career home runs

Los Angeles Dodgers batter Manny Ramirez has been handed a 50-match suspension after testing positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug.

Ramirez, 37 next month, is one of the highest profile players caught since testing in baseball began in 1993.

The suspension will cost Ramirez $7.7m (£5m) - roughly 31% of his $25m salary.

"A physician gave me medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me but, unfortunately, it was banned," said Ramirez in a statement.

"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 apologise to (Dodgers owner) Mr McCourt, Mrs McCourt, (manager) Mr Torre, my team mates, 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."


Ramirez, a 12-time All-Star player who has helped the Dodgers to 13 straight home wins so far this season, will not be eligible to return until 3 July.

It is the second major drug revelation to hit baseball in the last few months after Alex Rodriguez admitted in February taking steroids while playing for Texas from 2001-2003.

That was before the start of testing with penalties under a regime agreed to by players and management and the New York Yankees star is unlikely to be suspended.

Ramirez is the third player banned this year under the major league program, following Philadelphia reliever J.C. Romero and Yankees pitcher Sergio Mitre.

In the past, the best-known player penalised was Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro, who received a 10-day suspension in 2005, the first year of penalties for first infractions.

see also
Baseball star lied about drug use
11 Feb 09 |  Americas
Baseball star admits steroid use
10 Feb 09 |  Americas
League silent on A-Rod drug claim
08 Feb 09 |  Baseball
Ramirez begins LA life with homer
03 Aug 08 |  Baseball
Baseball drugs network is exposed
28 Apr 07 |  Baseball
Baseball fixtures/results
10 Oct 06 |  Baseball
Baseball - the basics
26 Oct 05 |  Baseball
Baseball jargonbuster
26 Oct 05 |  Baseball

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