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Melky Cabrera suspension doesn't mean Dodgers can celebrate

August 15, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Melky Cabrera won't be available to the Giants for the rest of the regular season, thanks to a positive test for a banned substance.
Melky Cabrera won't be available to the Giants for the rest of the regular… (Ben Margot / Associated…)

Ah, don’t gloat. Don’t do your happy dance. Don’t talk about karma or Joe Morgan or the curse of garlic fries.

Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera is the latest knucklehead to be suspended for using performance enhancing drugs.

Major League Baseball suspended him for 50 games, and since the Giants only have 45 left, there goes the rest of his season.

Though they had been scoring of late, the Giants are hardly an offensive dynamo. Which is not to say they don’t rank ahead of the Dodgers in most offensive categories.

But Cabrera had made himself a key part of their offense, just fraudulently, as it turned out. Not counting newly acquired Hunter Pence, Cabrera led the Giants in hitting (.346) and runs (84), and was second in RBI (60) and home runs (11).

And now he’s banished, the most significant player to be suspended for PEDs since Manny Ramirez. Maybe you remember him. Doubtful that Giants fans wept many a tear for the Dodgers on that one, but now the Dodgers faithful can afford to take the high moral ground. Anyway, you could.

The Giants should be in serious trouble, which hardly means the Dodgers can relax one scintilla, particularly now when they appear to be playing with focus and a sense of urgency. The Dodgers have to remain focused on the Dodgers.

Cabrera’s numbers this season had raised eyebrows, but now everything he’s done is totally suspect. He was in his final season before becoming a free agent, and the lure of a monster contract proved too strong. He gambled big and lost. He was probably looking at a $50-million contract if he’d gone the entire season without a positive test. And he made it all the way until the middle of August.

At least he’s not moaning about a tainted this or prescription that. Said Cabrera in a statement:

“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used. I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down.”

You cheat and get caught, you pay the price. Trouble is, when a player weighing the personal risk/reward of taking PEDs gives into temptation and tests positive, it doesn’t just affect him, but the whole team.

In theory, Cabrera could sit out the rest of the regular season and the first five games of the playoffs, and then return. Trouble is, the season in the minors ends in early September. He’ll have had no place to get back into playing condition. And the Giants would have to hold a roster spot open for him, so he’s done.

Don’t assume the Giants are too. They are still a strong overall team with outstanding pitching. And the Dodgers actually increased their lead in 2009 when Manny was out with his suspension. You just don’t know.

Get gleeful some other time. There are still seven weeks to go.

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