Report Links Ortiz, Ramirez To Steroid Use In 2003

July 31, 2009|By Dom Amore | Dom Amore,Tribune Newspapers

BOSTON - -If David Ortiz were to apply his own standards, he could not play baseball for a year.

Five months after saying that steroid users should be banned for a full year, Ortiz was snared in baseball's long-running scandal.

Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, two integral players in the Boston Red Sox's championship teams of 2004 and '07, were among the 104 players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003, according to a New York Times report.

After the Red Sox's 8-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday at Fenway Park - Ortiz hit a game-changing home run - he said he called the players association and confirmed that the report was true.

"Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive," Ortiz said in a statement distributed before he spoke to reporters. "I will find out what I tested positive for. You know me, I will not hide and I will not make excuses."

Asked whether he was hurt by the revelation, Ortiz said, "I'm OK, I'm OK," and abruptly ended the interview. He didn't address his February comments.

There have been reports that players who tested positive in 2003 were notified, but Ortiz said he was "blindsided" by the report. In the past, he said he drank "protein shakes" in the Dominican Republic but stopped because he didn't know what was in them.

Red Sox management, which appeared to take a hand in Ortiz's post-game response, expressed support:

"I've known him a long time and he has meant a lot to us," general manager Theo Epstein said. "The organization supports him and his teammates support him. It's easy to support him the way he is handling it. I admire his courage."

Two Connecticut residents at Fenway responded to the question of whether the news tarnishes the 2004 World Series title:

"No, no, no, no, no!" said Don Savino, 72, of Scotland. "I can't buy that. ... Not at all."

"I think that's sour grapes," said Dennis Quinn, 59, of Newington. "I'm not going to let it taint that wonderful 2004 for me."

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