2:48pm: ESPN.com's Peter Gammons says he believes the positive test was triggered because of a "personal medical issue," not HGH or steroids. Gammons spoke with a Red Sox official who doesn't believe "for a second" that Manny cheated.
1:30pm: ESPN's T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada say the drug was HCG – "a women's fertility drug typically used by steroid users to restart their body's natural testosterone production as they come off a steroid cycle. It is similar to Clomid, the drug Bonds, Giambi and others used as clients of BALCO."
12:39am: Tim Brown and Steve Henson of Yahoo say Manny tested positive for…drumroll…a sexual enhancer (not Viagra). Ramirez tested positive in Spring Training, and then again recently. Manny did not test positive for a steroid or human growth hormone.
11:41am: In a statement, Manny apologized and explained what happened:
Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was okay to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I've taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.
10:50am: According to Bill Shaikin and Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, Dodgers star Manny Ramirez "tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and will be suspended for 50 games starting today." The journalists have word on Manny's defense:
Ramirez is expected to attribute the test results to medication received from a doctor for a personal medical issue, according to a source familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak publicly.
Manny was hitting .348/.492/.641 in 120 plate appearances and figures to be replaced by Juan Pierre. Ramirez will be back in July, and the Dodgers are already up 6.5 games in the division. So they'll probably be fine. But this certainly throws a wrench into Manny's contract situation. He has to decide in November whether to opt out of his $20MM 2010 salary. Also, Manny will lose nearly $8MM in salary.