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Pedro weighs in on Ortiz, Manny

Pedro weighs in on Ortiz, Manny

The story involving David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez took another twist on Friday night when their former Red Sox teammate, Pedro Martinez, decided to weigh in on the controversy.

Ortiz, the only member of the trio remaining with the Sox, confirmed on Thursday that he tested positive for the use of performance-enhancing drugs, during Major League Baseball's 2003 survey testing season. Ramirez, now with the Dodgers, declined to discuss the matter.

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But Martinez, after making a rehab start in Allenton, Pa., for the Phillies' Triple-A Leigh Valley team, decided to join the fray.

"I can tell you, I didn't know they were doing it," Martinez said after pitching five innings and allowing three hits and five runs in a 9-6 loss to Columbus. "It was something that was very common among the players, as far as I know. I was never told that they were using anything. I never heard anything from them. I'll tell you one thing: They're good, with or without it. Both of them are really, really good."

Martinez went on to praise Ortiz and Ramirez in his postgame media conference.

"I've seen Manny throughout his career and Manny's been as steady as you want a player to be," Martinez said. "David, I mean, you have to be some kind of a person. Even though [performance-enhancing drugs] might help you physically, help you to keep your concentration and do the things you have to do, it's not like he hit a homer every time. There were a lot of bloopers that looked like a guy who hit the ball with paper that still did the job.

"I'm not going to say anything, because I don't agree with it. I believe the game should be played clean. They've got my total support. They weren't the only ones. There were a lot of guys."

Ortiz, Ramirez and Martinez were all part of the Red Sox club that in 2004 ended an 86-year streak in which the franchise hadn't won a World Series title. Those Sox came back from an 0-3 deficit to defeat the Yankees in the American League Championship Series before sweeping the Cardinals in the World Series.

Martinez bristled at the notion that that World Series championship is now tainted because Ortiz and Ramirez are evidently on the list of 104 players who tested positively during the '03 season.

"There's no crying in baseball," Martinez said. "We won in 2004. That's it. Are you going to tell me that the other guys, who used it on other teams are now whining? They used it, too. One thing that's really caught my attention is -- why is it all Dominicans? What's going on? Why is it all Dominicans that all of a sudden come out positive? The last one standing might be me.

"That's a big question to ask. What's going on here? Why is it I'm the only one who might be left standing? All of a sudden, they're going to come up and say: 'Pedro [did it], too.' That's when I'm going to start stripping my clothes off and showing everybody I've never had acne on my back. If I did use it, it didn't help me. They need to give my money back. It didn't work."

Ramirez, a Dominican, is the only Major Leaguer suspended this year after violating MLB's drug policy by taking what was later reported to be a fertility drug. He missed 50 games and returned to action on July 3. J.C. Romero, the Phillies reliever who was the only player on the 25-man roster of any Major League team to be suspended for testing positive in 2008, is from Puerto Rico.

Of the seven players whose names already have been leaked on the list of 104, four are of Dominican descent: Ramirez, Ortiz, Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez. David Segui was born in the U.S., but his father, Diego, a former player, is Cuban. The other two players were Barry Bonds and Jason Grimsley.

Last season, 42 of 69 suspensions announced under the Minor League drug program were handed out to Dominican Summer League players. On July 17, five more were suspended.

Martinez, who signed as a free agent with Mets after the 2004 season, was not asked back for 2009. He sat out the first half of the season and was signed by the Phillies on July 15 to a one-year contract worth a base salary of $1 million, with an additional $1.5 million possible in incentives. The three-time Cy Young Award winner won only eight games in 25 starts during his final two seasons with the Mets.

Martinez also had some thoughts on the Mets. Asked about the controversy that led to the dismissal Monday of vice president of player development Tony Bernazard, Martinez said:

"Whatever happened with Tony, according to what I heard, for a person like Tony -- that old with that much time in the game -- that surprised me. You guys [reporters] should never have your noses in [the clubhouse]. It should've been in the clubhouse and stayed there. But I don't know what happened. So I'm not going to comment on that, and I'm not going to blame anybody."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["drug_policy" ] }
{"content":["drug_policy" ] }