The LA Times got the scoop — Manny Ramirez has been suspended for 50 games as a result of a positive test for performance enhancing substances. Updates as information breaks.
UPDATE 1: Ramirez was suspended for a “performance enhancing substance” and not a “drug of abuse.” This puts aside early rumors that Ramirez had been suspended for marijuana use.
UPDATE 2: Two sources confirm for me that Ramirez did not test positive for an anabolic steroid. What the substance was remains unclear. The press release from MLB indicates that it was not a “drug of abuse” or a “stimulant,” the other two classes of banned substances. Ramirez’s positive test came during Spring Training, which follows his story that he received the substance from a doctor this January.
UPDATE 3: Ramirez’s statement issued through the MLBPA indicates that Ramirez will not appeal his suspension and that he received the banned substance from a doctor. Ramirez was suspended under section 8.G.2 of the Joint Drug Agreement, which is “other.” In his statement, there’s no clear statement that Ramirez ever tested positive. Combined, those two facts point to a non-testable drug, but this is not confirmed. The only other known 8.G.2 suspension was Jordan Schaefer.
UPDATE 4: Give T.J. Quinn the points: He gets the scoop that the drug Ramirez was suspended for was HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin.) Simply put, it boosts testosterone.
FINAL UPDATE: Spoke with several sources with knowledge of the tests and it appears that Ramirez is both guilty of offense and of some poor judgement. His doctor checked the list, but apparently the old list — HCG was added to baseball’s banned list this off-season. That said, HCG is a big testosterone booster (up to 100% according to Millard Baker, a steroids expert) and is often used to “kick start” the body’s natural production of testosterone after a cycle of steroids.
So to summarize, Manny Ramirez has been suspended for a banned substance, one that is not a steroid, but does have some performance enhancing and steroid connections. There’s still some unanswered questions, such as the two tests that Yahoo reported, why Ramirez was prescribed the substance, and why he was suspended under 8.G.2 rather than the normal 8.B.1. Thanks to everyone that helped and to the commenters, who (mostly) kept it a smart, reasoned discussion.