KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Former MVP Miguel Tejada was suspended for 105 games Saturday for testing positive for an amphetamine, one of the longest suspensions given by Major League Baseball.
The 39-year-old infielder for the Kansas City Royals is already on the 60-day disabled list with a calf injury. He is not challenging the penalties and will begin serving the ban immediately, and would have to finish serving it next season if he wants to resume his career.
Tejada is not signed with the Royals beyond this season. The penalty would force him to miss two months next year.
“I apologize to my teammates, the Royals organization and to the Kansas City fans,” he said in a statement released Saturday by the players’ association. “I have a medical condition that requires medication to treat. I took that medication while re-applying for a Therapeutic Use Exemption. Under the requirements of the Joint Drug Program, I made a mistake in doing so.”
A person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press that Tejada tested positive for Adderall, a substance he had previously used to treat attention-deficit disorder.
MLB’s medical staff occasionally grants therapeutic-use exemptions, which allow players to use drugs such as Adderall to treat ADD and other diagnosed disorders.
Tejada previously tested positive under the league’s amphetamine policy. That subjected him to a 25-game ban for a second test and an 80-game suspension for a third.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re MVP or king of the world. If you’re going to do things that are illegal, you’re going to get caught for it and you’re going to get suspended,” Royals pitcher James Shields said. “It’s a shame because I really like him a lot as a teammate.”
Tejada’s suspension is the third handed down to a former MVP this season – the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez is appealing a 211-game suspension and the Brewers’ Ryan Braun is serving a 65-game ban.
Both players were connected to the Biogenesis clinic in Florida that was accused of dispensing banned drugs. Rodriguez was among 13 players suspended 12 days ago by MLB, while Braun was penalized earlier this year.
Tejada also received one of the longest nonlifetime bans in baseball history. Along with A-Rod’s pending suspension, Pascual Perez was banned for the 1992 season for a positive cocaine test and Dwight Gooden barred for the 1995 season for violating his drug after-care program.
“That’s a great guy. Maybe he made a mistake,” Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar said before Saturday night’s game in Detroit. “Everybody saw it on TV. That’s tough.”
A six-time All-Star who won the AL MVP award in 2002, Tejada has sometimes been overshadowed by doping allegations throughout his career.
The first significant mention of his name came in the Mitchell Report on steroids use in baseball. Then, in February 2009, he was charged with lying to Congress about performance-enhancing drugs in the game. Tejada pleaded guilty to the charge and received one year of probation.
Tejada made his big league debut with the Athletics, where he spent the best years of his career. He hit .308 with 34 homers and 131 RBI during his MVP season, and then was even better in 2004 with Baltimore, when he .311 with 34 home runs and a career-best 150 RBI.
Tejada also spent time with Houston and San Diego before struggling two years ago in San Francisco, and then was unable to latch onto a big league team last season.
The Royals took a chance on him after watching him play in the Dominican Republic’s winter league, signing him to a deal worth $1.1 million if he made the major league roster. He wound up becoming an everyday player, hitting .288 with three homers and 20 RBI in 53 games.
Tejada hurt his calf last Saturday while diving for a ball in the seventh inning of a loss to the Red Sox. He wound up on the DL, and was transferred to the 60-day disabled list — effectively ending his season – when the Royals acquired utility man Emilio Bonifacio earlier this week.
“He definitely played well,” Shields said. “I’ve faced him for many, many years and he’s one of the best situational hitters that I’ve ever seen. I never really knew him. To know how he was a teammate and as a player? He was phenomenal.”