Thanks to an unlikely boost from Diamondbacks killer Manny Ramirez, the struggling D-Backs may have just gotten a new lease on life.
Arizona started 20-8 last April before a deep summer swoon and the L.A. Dodgers' signing of Ramirez left them for dead. In an uncanny twist, the Dodgers started this season 21-8 -- setting the all-time major-league record for home wins to start a season -- before Ramirez finally bit them in the butt.
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Those familiar with Ramirez's tumultuous career sensed it was only a matter of time until he threw some sort of monkey wrench into the works for Joe Torre's team, but it was still a shock to read this morning's headline in the Los Angeles Times' online edition: "Manny Suspended 50 Games for Positive Drug Test."
In a statement provided by the Major League Baseball players' union, Ramirez said the violation was the result of a non-steroidal medication prescribed by a doctor that was on MLB's banned-meds list. The Times story referred to the drug as "performance enhancing."
Ramirez has waived his right to challenge the suspension, and will forfeit approximately one-third of his 2009 salary of $25 million. Xavier Paul of the Dodgers' AAA affiliate will take Manny's roster spot, and Juan Pierre is expected to start in his place.
Ramirez, who was hitting .348 with six homers and 20 RBI, will be eligible to return for the July 3 game against San Diego.