Manny Ramirez retires due to "issue" with drug test
Update (5:40): The Times has confirmed that Ramirez tested positive for a banned substance during spring training and would have been suspended had he not retired. It's unclear whether it would have been 100 games or 50. Ramirez had known for a couple of days, but the Rays just found out this afternoon.
Developing: Tampa Bay Rays DH Manny Ramirez has retired after "an issue" with an MLB drug test.
Bill Shaikan of the Los Angeles Times posted on Twitter from a source that "Manny tested positive for banned substance, would have been facing 100-game suspension had he not retired (or succeeded in appeal).''
According to an MLB release: “Major League Baseball recently notified Manny Ramirez of an issue under Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Rather than continue with the process under the Program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player. If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the Drug Program will be completed. MLB will not have any further comment on this matter."
The Rays appeared to be caught off-guard by the news. Ramirez had missed Thursday's game for what manager Joe Maddon said was a "personal matter" and a "family thing," and Maddon said he was sure Ramirez would rejoin the Rays for tonight's 8 p.m. game in Chicago.
The Rays are recalling first baseman Casey Kotchman to take Ramirez's spot on the roster and hoping he'll arrive by gametime.
In a statement, the Rays said: "The Tampa Bay Rays were informed today by the Commissioner’s Office that Manny Ramirez has decided to retire after being informed of an issue under the Drug Program. We are obviously surprised and disappointed by this news. We will have no further comment on this matter, and our fans and organization will carry on.”
Ramirez was off to a brutal start with the Rays, 1-for-17 with an .059 average. With 3B Evan Longoria sidelined for at least 3 weeks with an oblique strain and Ramirez retiring, the Rays have lost the 3-4 hitters from their lineup.