Free-agent outfielder Marlon Byrd, an All-Star in 2010 with the Chicago Cubs, was suspended for 50 games for a violation of Major League Baseball’s drug policy.
Byrd, 34, will be placed on the restricted list until the suspension ends on Aug. 20, the office of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said today in an e-mailed release. The outfielder tested positive for Tamoxifen, a performance-enhancing substance, according to the statement.
Byrd said today in a statement released by the MLB Players Association that the positive test was a result of medication given last winter for a private condition unrelated to baseball. He was not specific about the condition.
“Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance-enhancement reasons,” Byrd said. “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.”
Tamoxifen interferes with the activity of estrogen and has commonly been used for more than 30 years to treat breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. It also can be used in conjunction with steroids, reducing the risks of having too much estrogen in the body.
Byrd had his best season in 2009, when he hit .283 with a career-high 20 home runs and 89 runs batted in with the Texas Rangers. The following season he was named to the National League All-Star team with the Cubs. He has also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox.
In 47 games this season with the Cubs and Red Sox, Byrd was batted .210 with one home run and nine runs batted in. He was released by Boston this month.
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