If the Miami Marlins had one positive story to come out of the damp tissue that was last season, it was spark plug second baseman Dee Gordon, who led the league in hits, batting average, and stolen bases. The Marlins lavished a new $50 million contract on him, and just last night, he drove in the winning run against the Dodgers.
But hours later, the Fish learned that Gordon is likely to lead his team in only one category this year: failed steroid tests. Major League Baseball hit Gordon last night with an 80-game ban for reportedly testing positive for two banned steroids, clostebol and exogenous testosterone.
Considering he plays in the city that gave birth to the Biogenesis scandal, Gordon's failed tests are all the more head-scratching. Unlike many of the pro baseball clients at Tony Bosch's illicit clinic, Gordon apparently wasn't toying with cutting-edge peptides designed to skirt MLB's tough testing.
Both the drugs he tested positive for are run-of-the-mill synthetic steroids. Clostebol was even used back in the day by doped-up East German Olympic athletes.
Gordon released a statement this morning claiming he didn't "knowingly" take the drugs, but apologizing to fans and teammates:
Team president David Samson told reporters after the game that the franchise was blindsided by the suspension.
"Dee Gordon is very import part of our team, and we all love him and support him. That said, I don't like or condone what he did," Samson said. "It is a huge, huge disappointment to the kids, to our fans, his teammates, everyone in our organization who works hard every single day who to put a product on the field everyone in Miami can be proud of."
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Manager Don Mattingly said his teammates would back Gordon during the suspension. "We're gonna support Dee. These guys love Dee, and I feel like he's one of my kids I've known him so long," Mattingly said. "I'm definitely shocked and surprised."
But competitors aren't exactly lining up to throw sympathy at Gordon. For many, it's especially galling to see a guy with such eye-popping stats fail a steroid test — how must Bryce Harper feel, who lost out on a batting title on the season's last day to Gordon?
All-Star Justin Verlander, long one of MLB's loudest anti-steroid critics, spoke for many when he immediately lashed out at Gordon and at MLB for letting the second baseman continue playing while he appealed his failed test.