Ramirez apologizes to fans, teammates

July 3, 2009 3:38:16 PM PDT
Manny Ramirez returned to the big leagues and apologized to fans and his teammates. He refused to talk about steroids, though. The slugger's 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy ended Friday and he was set to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Diego Padres.

"Well, I want to say I'm sorry to the fans and to my teammates," Ramirez said at a news conference about four hours before the first pitch.

He refused to talk about the reason for his suspension. "I don't want to get into my medical record," said Ramirez, who wore sunglasses and had his dreadlocks back in a ponytail. "Showtime tonight!" he said as he walked off the dais.

Ramirez's ban was based on evidence he used human chorionic gonadotropin, a fertility drug that's banned by baseball, a person familiar with the suspension told The Associated Press after the suspension was announced on May 7, speaking on condition of anonymity because those details were not released.

HCG is popular among steroid users because it can mitigate the side effects of ending a cycle of the drugs.

Thousands of blue-clad Dodgers fans were expected to be in the sellout crowd at Petco Park.

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AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.

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