ST. PETERSBURG: Mike Aviles #3 of the Boston Red Sox congratulates Marlon Byrd #23 after his home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
In the most recent reminder that you can't just pick someone who uses performance-enhancing drugs out of a lineup, former Red Sox outfielder Marlon Byrd is in trouble for the use of them, according to MLB Public Relations:
Free agent OF Marlon Byrd has received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) June 25, 2012
Th drug in question, tamoxifen, is used for cancer prevention -- it's an anti-estrogen drug, specifically used to treat breast cancer patients.
As this is Byrd's first time testing positive, he has been suspended for 50 games. Under the current rules for the prevention of PED use in Major League Baseball, a 100-game suspension is levied for a second positive, and for a third, a lifetime ban is enacted.
Byrd doesn't have to worry about that for some time, possibly ever, because he does have to worry about convincing someone to sign him -- the 50-game suspension would begin when he is acquired by a new team. As he owns an 81 OPS+ the last two seasons, and hit just .210/.243/.245 before the suspension this year, there might not be a club willing to give him a deal and wait until he's 50 games older to play.
With that in mind, let this also be a reminder that the phrase "performance-enhancing" maybe isn't as truthful as its name entails.
[Update 4:50 pm] Brian MacPherson has Byrd's response to the news over at the Providence Journal.