UPDATE: Monday, June 25 at 4:54 p.m. ET by Richard Langford
Not surprisingly, Marlon Byrd has issued an apology and says it is all a misunderstanding. USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweeted out Byrd's sentiments:
Byrd apologizes, says the drug was used for reoccurrence of private surgery he had years ago #mlb— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 25, 2012
Byrd is going to have a hard time finding a lot of people who will buy this story. It certainly doesn't mean that it is not true, just that it isn't one that the public—which has been slammed with news of PED use and allegations of use being met with phony denials and terrible excuses—is not eager to buy.
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MLB tweeted out the news:
BREAKING: Free agent OF Marlon Byrd suspended 50 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.— MLB (@MLB) June 25, 2012
While they report he was suspended for testing positive for a PED, new information suggests that the problem appears to be he actually tested positive for a substance that he would have little reason to take unless he was using PEDs.
ESPN's T.J. Quinn expanded on the nature of his failed test:
Marlon Byrd suspended 50 games. Tested + for tamoxifen, an estrogen blocker, not a PED. Dopers use it to mitigate steroid side-effects.— T.J. Quinn (@TJQuinnESPN) June 25, 2012
There is a good chance that this suspension will end Byrd's career. The 34-year-old former All-Star was struggling mightily this year. After spending two-plus seasons with the Cubs, Chicago shipped him to the Red Sox earlier this season, where he was hitting just .210 on the year.
Byrd has had a fine career. In his 11 seasons, he hit .278 with 82 home runs. Of course, with this suspension, any and all accomplishments Byrd has racked up will now fall under suspicion that he was cheating to achieve his success.
This test should also serve as a reminder of just how hard it is to catch someone using PEDs. Byrd was caught not for the PED, but something else he allegedly had to take to help manage what the PEDs were doing to his body.