Manny Ramirez did not have traces of human chorionic gonadotropin in his system at the time of the drug test that led to his 50-game suspension, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times this morning. Instead, it was a prescription for the drug, banned by Major League Baseball, that led to the Dodgers slugger's punishment.
Because of the absence of hCG in his test and the league's decision to suspend him, anti-doping experts indicated to the Times that it was apparent Ramirez had used steroids.
According to the Times report:
One of the sources with knowledge of the test results confirmed that the outfielder's sample was flagged for having an unusually elevated synthetic testosterone level, more than four times that of the average male. Sources also said that MLB's decision to move to suspend Ramirez would have happened only if the report showed a banned substance.
MLB officials had begun the process of disciplining Ramirez for a positive drug test when they obtained his medical records that contained a prescription for hCG. At that point he was suspended for "just cause" based on "non-analytical evidence" and for which a "therapeutic use" exemption was available but never requested. Once MLB had the prescription, Ramirez dropped the appeal and was suspended.