Tampa Bay Rays
Report: Ortiz, Ramirez tested positive in 2003 with Red Sox
NEW YORK - David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, the sluggers who led Boston to a pair of World Series championships, were among the more than 100 Major League Baseball players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to a report in The New York Times. The article posted on the newspaper's Web site Thursday cited lawyers involved in pending litigation over the testing results who spoke anonymously because the information is under seal by a court order. Ortiz declined comment to the paper before the Red Sox played Oakland. The popular-but-slumping Big Papi had not been previously linked to positive tests. Ortiz came up in the second inning Thursday and was cheered by the sold-out crowd at Fenway Park. He lined the first pitch off the Green Monster for a double.Ramirez, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, recently served a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy. Major League Baseball declined to comment on the Times' report, telling The Associated Press it didn't have the list of the 104 players who tested positive six years ago. The players' union also declined comment. Red Sox owner John Henry did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. In 2004, Ortiz and Ramirez led Boston to their first World Series championship since 1918. The sluggers helped the Red Sox win another title in 2007. The results from the 2003 tests were supposed to remain anonymous, but they later were seized by federal agents. Alex Rodriguez admitted using performance-enhancing drugs after he was linked to the 2003 list. And in June, The Times reported that Sammy Sosa also was on the 2003 list. Ramirez was a long-established star in 2003. Ortiz, in contrast, had been a part-time player before that season. Ortiz had never hit more than 20 homers in a season as a part-time player in Minnesota early in his career. He came to Boston as a platoon player in 2003 and had four homers by July 1, then hit 27 the rest of the year. Ortiz followed up with seasons of 41, 47 and 54 home runs as he established himself as one of the best sluggers in the game. Last year, he dipped to 23 home runs and his slump continued this season. He went into Thursday's game hitting .224 with only 13 homers. Ramirez returned from his suspension this month and quickly re-established his presence in the middle of the lineup for the NL West-leading Dodgers. Boos have rained down on Ramirez throughout this week's series in St. Louis whenever he comes to the plate or touches the ball. "He's a great player and I don't think the suspension has anything to do with it," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "Personally, if he never got suspended they'd still be booing the hell out of him." "I think the reception would have been the same. Some people hate the long hair or whatever it is, or the fact he's a free spirit," he said.