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August 1, 2009

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Big Papi confirms 2003 positive test

DAVID Ortiz spent the afternoon answering questions about drugs, not his big home run.

Manny Ramirez brushed off news that linked him to more cheating.

One by one, some of baseball's biggest stars keep getting implicated in an ever-growing drug scandal that won't go away. Ortiz became the latest, acknowledging on Thursday that the players' union confirmed he tested positive in 2003.

Shortly after hitting the go-ahead homer in Boston's 8-5 victory over the Oakland Athletics, Ortiz responded to a story on The New York Times' Website that he and Ramirez tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs six years ago when they were teammates with the Red Sox.

"I've just been told that the report is true," Ortiz said in a statement after contacting the union. "Based on the way I lived my life I'm surprised to learn I tested positive."

The popular Big Papi, who had never been linked to drugs, said he intended to find out what was in his system and would tell the Red Sox and the public.

"You know me -- I will not hide and I will not make excuses," he said.

Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are among the many All-Stars tainted by the cloud of steroids and drugs, which has called into question some of the sport's greatest achievements over the last two decades.

Ortiz and Ramirez led the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2004 -- their first in 86 years -- and another championship in 2007.

Ramirez, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, recently served a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy. Asked about this second alleged doping violation, he told reporters in St Louis: "You want more information, I'm pretty sure you guys got the phone number to the union. Call the union, and they can explain that to you guys."

"Me and David, we're like two mountains," he said. "We're going to keep playing the game, and we're going to keep doing good. We're trying to move forward; that's the key here."

Ramirez went 0 for 5 with a strikeout as Los Angeles beat the Cardinals 5-3 in 10 innings on Thursday night.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who guided Boston to those two titles, said the news "blindsided everybody," including Ortiz.

"Nobody condones the use of performance-enhancing drugs," he said. "The testing procedure was confidential. I don't know how you can go back on that now."

In other American League games on Thursday, it was: Orioles 7, Royals 3; Rangers 7, Mariners 1; and White Sox 3, Yankees 2.

Elsewhere in the National League, it was: Mets 7, Rockies 0 (first game); Rockies 4, Mets 2 (second game); Padres 7, Reds 4; Brewers 7, Nationals 3; Cubs 12, Astros 3; Braves 6, Marlins 3 (in 10 innings); and Giants 7, Phillies 2.


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