PED Related Suspensions Keep Coming; This Time Marlon Byrd
The Cleveland Indians’ veteran outfielder, Marlon Byrd, has been handed a 162-game suspension after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Byrd, who batted .270 with five home runs and 19 RBIs this season, was found to have taken Ipamorelin, a growth hormone secretagogue.
This is not Byrd’s first incident involving PEDs – Byrd was suspended 50 games in 2012 after testing positive for a banned substance. The Associated Press has reported that Byrd, who will be forty years old when his suspension is lifted, has unofficially announced his retirement to teammates and manager Terry Francona in what was reportedly an emotional clubhouse meeting Wednesday.
After entering free agency following the 2015 season, the Indians signed Byrd to a minor league contract in March. Having put up good offensive numbers in spring training, Byrd was added to the major league roster. Hitting .270 with 5 HRs and 19 RBIs so far this season, Byrd’s bat is certainly a loss for the Indians, though not the first they’ve had to face – fellow outfielder Abraham Almonte was suspended for 80 games in February for testing positive for the anabolic steroid Boldenone.
Many current and former players are not happy with news of Byrd having used PEDs. Retired pitcher Dan Haren tweeted “can I get back all the home runs he hit off me please? Thanks.”
Jeremy Guthrie echoed that sentiment with “Marlon Byrd is a joke. All you cheaters are a joke. Do it the right way one time, accept your ups & downs.”
Suspensions Becoming More Popular
Suspensions relating to the use of performance enhancing drugs are on the rise in baseball, as Byrd is the eighth player to be caught and suspended for the use of PEDs this year alone. That’s one more than in the entirety of 2015. There were just two suspensions the year before that, and in 2013 there were no such suspensions.
Commissioner Rob Manfried offers a different explanation – at a quarterly owners meeting in mid-May, Manfield stated that innovations in the science of drug testing have resulted in more positive test results.
“The windows of detection on certain substances have been lengthened,” said Manfield, “That may be one explanation for what we’re seeing.”
The Indians, having lost two outfielders to the innovative science of drug testing, have recalled outfielder Tyler Naquin from triple-A Columbus as well as LHP Tom Gorzelanny. Manager Terry Francona, following Byrd’s announcement to the team Wednesday, has likened the news of losing Byrd, the career .275 hitter, to getting “kicked in the stomach.”
Having seen eight players ousted for cheating, baseball fans everywhere share Francona’s pain: we’re all a bit sick to our stomachs.
(PED Related Suspensions Keep Coming)