Miami — Reigning NL batting champion Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins says he unknowingly took the performance-enhancing drugs that led to his 80-game suspension, but he’ll accept the penalty.
The announcement of the suspension by Major League Baseball came shortly after the Marlins’ victory at Los Angeles on Thursday night. MLB said Gordon tested positive for exogenous testosterone and clostebol.
“Though I did not do so knowingly, I have been informed that test results showed I ingested something that contained prohibited substances,” Gordon said in a statement released Friday by the players union. “The hardest part about this is feeling that I have let down my teammates, the organization, and the fans. I have been careful to avoid products that could contain something banned by MLB and the 20-plus tests that I have taken and passed throughout my career prove this.
“I made a mistake and I accept the consequences.”
The 28-year-old Gordon led the majors in hits and stolen bases last year. He batted .333, became an All-Star for the second time and won a Gold Glove at second base.
The big season helped him earn a $50 million, five-year contract he signed in January.
He and Marlins manager Don Mattingly were together with the Dodgers for four years, but the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Gordon didn’t become a regular in Los Angeles until 2014. Gordon was traded to Miami in a seven-player deal in December 2014, and Mattingly became the Marlins’ manager this season.
“Dee is always a guy we felt could play, but at that point he was 145 pounds soaking wet,” Mattingly said during spring training. “Now he has turned into a man. He has put some physical strength on him, and he’s a different player.”
The suspension came only months after steroids-tainted home run king Barry Bonds joined the Marlins as their hitting coach.
Mattingly said the Marlins will continue to support Gordon.
“I feel like Dee’s one of my kids, to be honest with you, because I’ve known him so long,” Mattingly said.
Initial reaction around the majors was mixed. Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist said the bigger the star, the more upsetting the news of a drug suspension.
“People are going to keep trying to find a way around just the hard work and everything that goes into this game,” Zobrist said before the Cubs’ game Friday against Atlanta. “It’s just the nature of man, I believe. People are always going to try and find a way to cheat the system.”
Shortly before the penalty was announced, Gordon hit an RBI single in the seventh inning and scored after forcing a balk as the Marlins rallied for a 5-3 win and a four-game sweep over Los Angeles.
Gordon became the seventh player to be suspended this year under the MLB drug plan. Last week, Toronto slugger Chris Colabello was penalized 80 games after testing positive for a PED.
Colabello said he surprised to learn he had tested positive for an anabolic steroid.
“The last two guys seem like they didn’t know,” Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward said. “It’s scary world in that sense. You’ve got to be really careful.”
Miami president David Samson said the Marlins “completely support the drug prevention program in every way.”
“Dee Gordon is a very important part of our team, and we all love him and support him,” Samson said. “That said, I don’t like or condone what he did.
“He will be back 80 games from now, and he will be welcomed back to this organization,” he added. “But in the interim period, we expect him, and we are positive that he will do everything that’s necessary to make it up to his fans, to his teammates and to this organization.”
Gordon is the son of former All-Star pitcher Tom Gordon.