Dodgers' Ramirez apologizes to teammates

Saturday, May 16, 2009

MIAM -- Manny Ramirez apologized to his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Friday after being suspended for 50 games for using a banned drug.

The brief meeting took place at the team's waterfront hotel in South Florida before the Dodgers arrived at the Florida Marlins' stadium to start a three-game weekend series, Los Angeles third baseman Casey Blake said.

Ramirez lives near the Marlins' stadium but is not expected at the ballpark this weekend.

Ramirez was suspended May 7. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt met with him Saturday in Los Angeles and encouraged Ramirez to apologize to teammates.

"We didn't need an apology," Blake said. "We got one and I forgive him."

A person familiar with the details of the suspension said last week that Ramirez used the female fertility drug HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). HCG is popular among steroid users because it can mitigate the side effects of ending a cycle of the drugs.

Ramirez has said he did not take steroids and was given medication by a doctor that contained a banned substance.

A 12-time All-Star, Ramirez played in 27 of the Dodgers' first 29 games, batting .348 with six homers to help them get off to their best start since 1983. The Dodgers lost four of their first five games after Ramirez was suspended, but they still lead the NL West.

Ramirez led Los Angeles into last year's playoffs after joining the team at the trade deadline from the Boston Red Sox.

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