Melky Cabrera, a 27-year old Major League Baseball player for the San Francisco Giants, tested positive for the use of the anabolic steroid testosterone. Testosterone is the primary androgen produced by the human body. Cabrera was suspended for fifty games as a result of his first violation of the MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program steroid testing program.
The MLB anti-doping protocol examines the testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio to detect the exogenous use of testosterone. A ratio that exceeds the 4:1 threshold triggers a positive test result. MLB typically follows up a positive T:E ratio with a confirmatory test known as the carbon isotope ratio (CIR) test. The CIR confirms that the elevated ratio is due to the presence of testosterone that was introduced from outside the body.
Cabrera was the Most Valuable Player in this year’s All-Star Game. The award only highlighted what was already a breakout season for Cabrera. He was the most productive player this year for the Giants. Cabrera led his team to a neck-and-neck penant race with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West. He led the league with 159 hits this season and added 11 home runs and 69 RBI.
Cabrera’s career season could have been a great bargaining chip for a player who would enter free agency at the end of the year. Instead, his performances will be questioned and the value of any subsequent contract will likely be considerably less.
Cabrera told sports writers that he has been training harder, working on improving his skills and paying more attention to diet and nutrition during the past two off-seasons. Instead of returning home to the Dominican Republic, he has stayed in Miami to focus on off-season training with an unnamed trainer.
Now, many cynics will dismiss his recent improvement as the result of steroids instead of hard work.
The suspension of Cabrera will result in another MVP-caliber performance being linked to anabolic steroids. Last year, MVP Ryan Braun tested positive for steroids after failing the same T:E ratio test that sidelined Cabrera. However, Braun successfully appealed the suspension on a technicality.
There is no chance Cabrera will avoid the suspension. He has already admitted using steroids and accepted his suspension. He released a statement, through the Major League Baseball Players Association, apologizing to his team and fans (called the “Melk-Maids”) for using steroids.
“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used. I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I will try to move on with my life,” said Cabrera in a statement. “I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down.”
The loss of Cabrera is a devastating blow to the Giants. The Giants have suspended discussions of a contract extension with Cabrera until the end of the season as a result of the steroid positive.
Ortiz, J. (August 15, 2012). Melky Cabrera suspended for 50 games for testosterone. Retrieved from http://content.usatoday.com/communities/dailypitch/post/2012/08/melky-cabrera-giants-50-game-suspension-testosterone/1