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Former Cubs OF Marlon Byrd suspended 50 games for positive drug test

Updated: July 27, 2012 6:24AM

Former Cubs outfielder Marlon
Byrd, who was traded April 21 to the Boston Red Sox, was suspended Monday for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy.

Byrd, who was released by the Red Sox on June 12 and is a free agent, won’t challenge the 50-game ban after testing positive for the drug Tamoxifen, which is commonly used to treat breast cancer. The drug is a powerful estrogen blocker, but it also can reduce the side
effects of steroid use and increase testosterone.

Byrd, 34, released a statement through the Major League Baseball Players Association taking responsibility for his actions and saying he wouldn’t challenge the suspension.

‘‘I made an inexcusable mistake,’’ his statement said. ‘‘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 made the National League All-Star team with the Cubs in 2010.

‘‘I’m surprised and feel sad for him because he was a great teammate when he played with us,’’ left fielder Alfonso Soriano said. ‘‘When you hear news about drug tests, no matter who it is, you feel bad
because they’re part of the family.’’

Soriano said players should be cautious about taking anything.

‘‘You could take something [over the counter] from GNC, and it might test positive,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s better if you don’t take anything. Just drink water and juice. You’re safe then.’’

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