Game 31: Toronto at Los Angeles pregame
Slow news day in the baseball world today, huh. I woke up with my blackberry buzzing and flashing, alerting me a hundred different ways that Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez was being suspended 50 games for testing positive for one of MLB’s banned substances.
Before today’s game here at Angel Stadium, a few of us scribes chatted for a while with veteran Kevin Millar, who was a teammate of Ramirez’s in Boston. Millar said he was stunned to learn that Manny’s name became the latest to be thrown into the performance-enhancing drugs discussion.
“I was definitely shocked,” Millar said. “I think all of Los Angeles is pretty much in shock right now. I feel bad for the fans, man. That’s who I feel bad for, the people who had tickets to come see him play tonight or tomorrow. It’s kind of a bummer.”
“The guy is the best pure hitter we’ve ever seen — period,” he added later. “He’s just got the sweetest right-handed swing, I think, of our generation. Maybe the best the game’s ever seen from the right side.”
According to a statement from Ramirez, he went to a doctor and was prescribed something for personal reasons, and he didn’t know the substance he received was banned. Reports indicate that the substance was identified as the female fertility drug human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG.
Millar doesn’t see how there could be any excuses for what happened.
“Listen, the bottom line is it’s not rocket science,” Millar said. “We’re responsible for everything we take — period. It’s not about the ban. If there’s something that you’re taking, you ask the question. If you test positive, you’re responsible for it — that’s the bottom line.
“As Major League players, we know there’s a testing policy and if I want to go tomorrow to go to GNC and get something, I’m going to make sure it’s OK. I think that’s the normal thing. I think we’ve all got to be accountable for our own actions at some point.”
Millar then retrieved a plastic container from his locker that had seven days worth of pills inside.
“I take vitamins every day,” said Millar, opening the case and pouring some pills into his hand. “If one of these things tests positive, that’s my fault. That’s not the company’s fault.”
BLUE SKIES: While chatting with Aaron Hill on the field this afternoon, Scott Rolen walked over to us and pointed to the sky. “We’re going to try to get that moved before BP starts, OK?” Rolen said. He was pointing to the lone, sorry excuse for a cloud that was floating above the ballpark here in sunny Anaheim. That Rolen, always the joker.
1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Vernon Wells, CF
5. Adam Lind, DH
6. Scott Rolen, 3B
7. Lyle Overbay, 1B
8. Rod Barajas, C
9. Travis Snider, LF
Starter: RHP Robert Ray (0-0)
1. Chone Figgins, 3B
2. Maicer Izturis, SS
3. Bobby Abreu, RF
4. Torii Hunter, CF
5. Kendry Morales, 1B
6. Mike Napoli, DH
7. Juan Rivera, LF
8. Howie Kendrick, 2B
9. Jeff Mathis, C
Starter: RHP Jered Weaver (2-1)