Free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd has received a 50-game suspension, the office of the commissioner announced in a press release Monday afternoon. The release indicates that Byrd tested positive for Tamoxifen, a performance-enhancing drug.
Byrd will be placed on baseball's restricted list until Aug. 20. Though Byrd is a free agent, he's still being paid -- as he signed a three-year contract with the Cubs prior to the 2010 season. During the suspension, however, Byrd will not be paid.
Byrd's salary for this season is $6.5 million. Upon trading him to the Red Sox, the Cubs picked up $6.1 million of it (Baseball-Reference.com). So the 50-game suspension actually ends up saving the Cubs money.
Byrd, 34, was an All-Star for the Cubs in 2010, but 2012 is proving to be a bad season for him. He started out hitting .070/.149/.070 for the Cubs before being traded to the Red Sox. He was a bit better (.270/.286/.320) for the Red Sox, but was released earlier this month.
Byrd has released the following statement:
“I made an inexcusable mistake. 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, of course, is a client of Victor Conte, the founder of BALCO Laboratories, and Conte tweeted this with regard to Byrd's suspension:
Any nutritional supplements I ever provided to Marlon Byrd were legal products that contained no banned substances.— Victor Conte (@VictorConte) June 25, 2012
Conte also said that Byrd received the supplement that triggered his suspension from "a Florida holistic lifestyle coach." [New York Daily News]