Dodgers' Ramirez added to drug-cheat list

At this point, should we even be surprised anymore?

With the 50-game suspension handed down Thursday by Major League Baseball to Manny Ramirez for a positive drug test, add another name to an already impressive list of cheats.

Canseco. McGwire. Palmeiro. Sosa. A-Rod. Clemens. Bonds … yes, the jury is out on him – for now. Caminiti. And those who were long suspected, the Bagwells and Andersons, among others.

A slew of minor leaguers have been banned for 50 for violating the drug policy, but until Ramirez was suspended, Philadelphia’s J.C. Romero – a journeyman reliever who could only get into the Hall of Fame with a paid admission and has maintained his innocence, going so far as to file a lawsuit against the makers and distributors of nutritional supplements he claims are responsible for his positive test in August – was the biggest name.

Until now.

Ramirez – a 12-time All-Star with 533 career homers - tested positive for HCG, a women’s fertility drug that can also be taken to help restart testosterone production after coming off a steroid cycle.

He issued a statement, talking out of both sides of his mouth as only ManRam can do.

"Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now.”

Of course, he couldn’t stop.

“I do want to say one other thing; I've taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.”

Except for this one. He also waived his right to challenge the findings, a clear admission of "OK, you got me."

What’s curious to me is the belief that the doctor thought it was all right to give Ramirez this drug. You’re making $25 million a year – well, take away about $8 million of that now – and you and your people aren’t doing due diligence on this?

And how long will it be before Bud Selig issues his own statement? You know the one ... disappointed ... not baseball's fault ... how baseball has the best and strongest drug-testing policy ... and so on, and so on.

Union be damned, it’s time to test them all, and if continual monitoring is needed, then so be it. Test positive once, you're not eligible for the Hall of Fame. Simple as that.

You want to clean up the clubhouses? Make a real effort then.

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