CLEVELAND (AP) — Marlon Byrd’s second strike with performance-enhancing drugs cost him a full season — and maybe his career.
The Indians’ veteran outfielder was suspended 162 games without pay by Major League Baseball on Wednesday after testing positive for Ipamorelin, a growth hormone releasing peptide.
Byrd’s lawyer Jay Reisinger said in a statement that Byrd tested positive because of a tainted supplement. Byrd won’t pursue an appeal, Reisinger said.
“Marlon is devastated, but understands that he is responsible for the supplements he takes,” Reisinger said.
It’s Byrd’s second violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Shortly after he was released in 2012 by Boston, Byrd served a 50-game suspension for testing positive for Tamoxifen, a medication used by body builders but also to treat breast cancer in women and men.
In 2014, MLB increased its penalty for a second offense in 2014 from 100 games to a full season.
A third suspension would result in a lifetime ban. In February, New York Mets pitcher Jenrry Meija became the first player to receive that sanction. Byrd, Meija and New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez are the only players to receive full-season suspensions.
Even if he’s able stay clean, at 38, Byrd’s playing days appear over.
He signed a one-year, $1 million contract as a free agent in March with Cleveland, which needed veteran outfield depth because both left fielder Michael Brantley and right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall were recovering from injuries.
Byrd has been productive, batting .270 with five homers and 19 RBIs in 34 games — mostly against left-handers. He went 4 for 4 with a homer on Monday night against Texas, and then struck out three times in a loss Tuesday. He spent last season with Cincinnati and San Francisco.
Byrd broke in with Philadelphia in 2002. He was an All-Star in 2010 with the Chicago Cubs, one of 10 teams he’s played for. Following his first suspension, Byrd signed with the New York Mets in 2013.
To replace Byrd on the roster, the Indians recalled outfielder Tyler Naquin from Triple-A Columbus.
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