Right Field

MLB Suspends the Melkman

On July 28, Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area issued a public apology to Melky Cabrera (.387 wOBA):

Journalism school grads [do not, unlike med-school grads, take the Hippocratic oath], but our duty is clear: We’re bound to seek the truth, to be as fair and accurate as possible and to serve the interests of readers.

I thought I was doing that Friday when I chose to ask Melky Cabrera about rumors that I had heard from several different readers who had contacted me via email and my Twitter account over the past few days. I had no idea where these rumors started, but the questions were starting to mushroom about whether Cabrera flunked a drug test and would face a 50-game suspension.

Let’s be clear: There is no evidence that there is any shred of truth to these rumors. Cabrera knew nothing about it. He contacted the union and his agent. They told him the rumors were unfounded as well. If Cabrera had failed a test, he and the union would’ve been the first to know. The rumor, to my knowledge, is a red herring. Cabrera even suggested to me that Dodgers fans could have made it up as a distraction.

I wasn’t 100 percent sure what to do next. On one hand, it’s my duty to serve readers who look to me to provide accurate information about the team I cover. On the other hand, knocking down the rumors would serve to give greater voice to them.

Ultimately, I decided to serve the truth.

Upon reflection, I did more harm than good. . . .

So I feel it’s important that I issue a public apology to Melky Cabrera for giving greater voice to a rumor that, to the best of my knowledge and on his word, has absolutely no basis in fact.

Today, MLB announced that this year’s All-Star Game MVP has been suspended for, yes, flunking a drug test:

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Testosterone, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Cabrera said that he would not appeal and would start serving the suspension immediately:

My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used. I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down.

Should the Giants reach the postseason, the outfielder would be eligible to return to the roster after the fifth playoff game; otherwise, his suspension will carry over into the start of the 2013 campaign.

More here.

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.

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