Blog Entry

Dodgers have seen Manny's PED suspension before

Posted on: April 8, 2011 9:15 pm
 

SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers have seen this before, Manny Ramirez in the lineup one day and popped with a long suspension for a failed performance-enhancing drug test the next.

Nevertheless, they were sad, disappointed and stunned -- stunned at Friday's news, and surprised that whatever system of checks and balances Manny uses, that he would put himself in a position to get zapped again.

"That's bad," said shortstop Rafael Furcal, a teammate of Manny's from 2008-2010. "Oh my God.

"I promise you, he does not want to retire. I don't know what happened.

"For me, it's sad."

Ramirez abruptly retired Friday, just five games into Tampa Bay's season, rather than face the penalty for a second drug bust: A 100-game suspension.

Throughout the game, people were adjusting their views of what he accomplished during his 19-year career, which now includes becoming the first (and, so far, only) player to get popped twice for failing PED tests.

"A little bit," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, Ramirez's hitting coach in Los Angeles from the time he landed on July 31, 2008, until the club allowed the White Sox to take him as a waiver claim last Aug. 30. "It's hard not to wonder what's what.

"You just don't know. That's the hardest part."

Part of not knowing the "what's what" with Ramirez, from the Dodgers' perspective, now includes his torrid run two-month run immediately upon joining the club in '08 during which he pretty much carried the Dodgers into the playoffs.

"I think you look at all guys, when it comes out like that," Mattingly said. "You wonder about the last seven or eight years. You wonder about Boston [where Manny played from 2001-2008].

"You wonder about all of it."

Though echoes of Ramirez's Dodgers past continue to reverberate in the organization, it's not like he left behind many close friends. Outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier both said they texted some with Manny during the winter but had not heard from him since spring training started. Furcal said he hasn't been in contact with Ramirez since he left Los Angeles last August.

"I didn't think this would happen again," Ethier said. "I don't think if this hadn't happened, [retirement] would be his decision.

"Unfortunately, circumstances forced him out of the game. I don't know if he felt uncomfortable, or he didn't have the confidence, to be the old Manny."

Or, perhaps, the skills.

"I don't even know what to say," Kemp said. "I haven't talked to him in awhile."

Furcal said the news "caught me by surprise" when a reporter told him what had happened with Ramirez shortly after the shortstop's arrival in the clubhouse Friday afternoon.

"That's bad," Furcal said. "He's still young. He's only 38 years old. He can still play.

"You never know what happens in other people's minds."

The Dodgers still owe Ramirez roughly $20 million in deferred salary through 2013. That is money still owed that will not be affected by his retirement.

 

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