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Dodgers’ Ramirez Suspended 50 Games For Drug Violation

LOS ANGELES- Manny Ramirez has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and will be suspended 50 games starting Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The test result and suspension is expected to be announced later Thursday.

The Dodgers informed triple-A outfielder Xavier Paul this morning that he was being promoted to Los Angeles, according to an article posted on The Times’ Web site.

Ramirez is expected to attribute the test results to medication prescribed for a personal medical issue, a source familiar with the matter told The Times. He will not be eligible to return to the team until July 3.

Ramirez — a model citizen since arriving in Los Angeles in August after a stormy tenure with the Boston Red Sox — would become the biggest star suspended under a major league testing program that started in 2003.

Alex Rodriguez, the game’s highest-paid player, acknowledged in February that he used steroids from 2001 to 2003. The admission followed a Sports Illustrated report that he failed a drug test in 2003, when players were not subject to suspension.

The Dodgers have the best record in the major leagues, at 21-8, and the biggest division lead in the majors, at 6 1/2 games in the National League West.

The loss of Ramirez would leave a gaping hole in the Dodgers’ lineup.

Juan Pierre, his likely replacement in left field, has batted ninth in two of his five starts this season.

Ramirez leads the Dodgers in batting average (.348), on-base percentage (.492) and slugging percentage (.641). He is tied for the team lead in home runs with six.

He signed a two-year $45-million contract with the Dodgers in March, with the first year guaranteed at $25 million and the second year at his option at $20 million.

KESQ News Team

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