Report: David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez on PED List
|07.30.09 at 12:53 pm ET|
The New York Times is reporting that both David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez were on the list of 104 Major League Baseball players who tested positive for performance-enhancing substances in 2003. The report cites lawyers familiar with the results of the tests.
The tests were administered as part of an agreement with the Players’ Association with the provision that positive tests by at least 5 percent of the players would trigger a testing program with penalties. The results were supposed to be kept confidential and subsequently destroyed as part of the agreement with the Players’ Association. But they were not, and the federal government seized the results.
Ramirez was suspended 50 games earlier this year for testing positive for a female fertility drug that can be used as a masking agent for steroids. At the time, he said that he had passed several tests over the previous five years during the time of mandatory drug tests (though perhaps conveniently omitting any 2003 tests).
Ortiz has never been suspended for the use of performance-enhancing substances. A Times reporter asked Ortiz about the report today.
“Ortiz shrugged,” the article said. “’I’m not talking about that anymore…I have no comment.’”
The Red Sox clubhouse was closed prior to the game by the time the report was published.
Ortiz has said repeatedly that his success has been achieved “the right way,” especially when he set a Red Sox team home run record in 2006 with 54 longballs. Indeed, unprompted, he commented on that very thing on Sept. 21, 2006, the night that he hit his 51st homer to set a new Sox record.
“This is something that might change people’s minds and let them know that there are still a lot of good athletes still playing the game and still working hard and preparing themselves to play the game the way it’s supposed to be,” he said. “A lot of people out there, a lot of players, that have a lot of respect for the game. I know there are some guys that have been caught using illegal things, but people should know that not everyone is like that.
“Somebody does whatever they do for a reason, but the most important thing is knowing that there are guys out there capable of hitting homers and doing everything in the right way.”
This spring, his association with Dominican trainer Angel Presinal came under scrutiny. Presinal had worked with Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees after being banned from MLB clubhouses for his association with steroids.
At the time, Ortiz stated that Presinal is a trainer at the facility where he and several other baseball players work out in the Dominican Republic, and that while the trainer offers guidance about exercises and conditioning, that Presinal has never pushed him towards steroids.
“No, no, no. Not at all,” Ortiz said when asked whether Presinal had steered him towards PEDs. “I’ve known him for a long time. He teaches how to keep our body ready, working out, teaching you how to do the right exercises, things like that. He’s not just teaching baseball players. He’s got guys that run in marathons, volleyball players, basketball players, everybody….We all work with him, a group of guys that wants to be ready in spring training. That’s about it.”
As Ian Browne of MLBlogs pointed out on his excellent Brownie Points blog, Ortiz also spoke out strongly this spring on the need to penalize PED users in an effort to clean up the game.
“I would suggest that everybody get tested, and not randomly,” Ortiz said on Feb. 16. “You go team by team and you test everybody, three, four times a year, and that’s about it. You do what you’ve got to do … ban them for the whole year [if they test positive]. You’re going to get respect from the players when they know they’re going to get tested. Let’s test the whole team, three or four times a year. I know they can do that. Believe me, if someone was using steroids, it would show up. Because the way they test you, it’s not a joke.”
Yet while he came out strongly against the use of PEDs, Ortiz also spoke during that spring training media session about the need to move on from the past.
“There’s been a lot of players who have been in federal court and being judged like they just killed somebody or they robbed somebody,” Ortiz also said on Feb. 16. “I don’t think all that is supposed to be happening. If you admitted that you’ve used stuff [in the past], boom, don’t use it anymore. It’s not good for you. You know it’s not good for the game. Let’s move on, you know what I mean? All the drama of bringing guys to court and acting like they are serious criminals, it doesn’t look good for the game. What is happening right now is about something that happened in the past. It’s not something that is happening right now. Everything was banned in, what, 2004?”
We will have more from Fenway Park as information becomes available.
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