BOSTON (CBS) — A bad season for veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd got a whole lot worse on Monday, when he was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
Major League Baseball announced the 34-year-old’s suspension via Twitter.
In 34 games for the Red Sox this season, he batted .270 with two doubles, one home run and seven RBIs. Prior to that, he batted just .070 in 13 games for the Cubs.
According to several reports, Byrd tested positive for Tamoxifen, a drug that is used to treat and prevent breast cancer for women. The website Bodybuilding.Elitefitness.com describes the drug “as both an anabolic steroid cycle ancillary drug and as recovery or as a post anabolic steroid cycle therapy drug.”
Byrd released a statement through the MLB Players’ Association on Monday, denying that he used any drug for performance-enhancing purposes.
“I made an inexcusable mistake,” Byrd said. “Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance enhancement reasons. I am mortified by my carelessness and I apologize to everyone who loves this game as I do. I will serve my suspension, continue to work hard and hope that I am given an opportunity to help a Club win later this season.”
Byrd’s short-time manager in Boston, Bobby Valentine, said Monday that the news caught him by surprise.
“He played here, he played well. I had no indication. I don’t think anybody here did,” Valentine said. “I was just in the training room, and they had no idea. They hadn’t found out.”
Byrd made his MLB debut in 2002 with the Phillies. In his 11-year career, he was a .278 hitter with 82 home runs and a .749 OPS. He was an All-Star in 2009, when he batted.293 and belted a career-high 20 home runs.
Byrd is currently a free agent, after the Red Sox designated him for assignment on June 9 and then released him on June 12. The Red Sox acquired Byrd on April 12 in a trade with the Cubs, sending Michael Bowden to Chicago in the deal.