(Reuters) - Cleveland Indians outfielder Marlon Byrd was suspended for 162 games by Major League Baseball on Wednesday after he tested positive for a banned substance a second time.
The suspension, which will include the remainder of the current campaign and the start of next season, could mark the end of the 38-year-old’s major league career which began in 2002 when he broke into the league with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Byrd, who served a 50-game suspension in 2012 for using the banned substance Tamoxifen, tested positive for the growth hormone secretagogue Ipamorelin.
”Today, I have accepted a one-year suspension by Major League Baseball,“ Byrd said in a statement released by the MLB Players Association. ”In 2012, I tested positive for the medication Tamoxifen, which I was using on the advice of a physician for a medical condition resulting from surgery, and I accepted my suspension without challenge.
“Since that time, I have paid close attention to the substances that are banned by the Joint Drug Agreement, as I had no intention of taking any banned substances.”
Byrd denied knowingly taking a banned substance saying that after his own investigation the positive test was likely the result of using a tainted supplement.
“I alone am responsible for what I put in my body, and therefore, I have decided to forgo my right to an appeal in this matter and accept the suspension,” added Byrd.
Byrd becomes the second Cleveland player this season to be hit with a drug suspension. Center fielder Abraham Almonte was hit with an 80-game ban for testing positive during Spring training for the steroid Boldenone.
During 15 season in the major leagues the well traveled Byrd played for 10 teams; Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Phillies and Indians, slamming 159 homers and driving in 710 runs.
This season Byrd was hitting .270 with five home runs, 19 RBIs in 34 games.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Andrew Both