Thursday, May 7, 2009

[Insert "Performance Enhancement" Pun Here]

Manny Ramirez has been suspended for 50 games for testing positive to a series of words that is very difficult to pronounce (human chorionic gonadatropin).

But the plot thickens. According to an anonymous source, Manny was taking the drug due to erectile dysfunction, though Ramirez himself was far more cryptic, claiming simply that his HCG use was for "a personal health issue." Even if Manny is on the level, he should have been more careful, particularly given the fate of the last big name player to be so publicly associated with erectile disfunction. But this incident certainly complicates the PED issue, as yet another future Hall of Famer has tested positive to a banned substance (but, importantly, not to a PED itself but instead a potential masking drug).

The Dodgers, currently in first in the NL West by a comfortable 6.5 game margin, should be able to hold their lead in a weak division. But there is no doubt that losing Manny for a third of a season is a tremendous blow. After a slow first week, Manny has been a monster in 2009, hitting .348/.492/.641 with 6 HR, 9 2B, 59 TB, and 26 BB against 17 SO, good for an OPS+ of 194 through 27 games. LA can't replace that level of production unless Juan Pierre is willing to blow his career earnings on all manner of uneccesary surgery.

Long live Juan Pierreborg!

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