The San Francisco Giants got hit with a huge blow on Wednesday, when Major League Baseball suspended All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera 50 games for testing postiive for testosterone. The suspension comes just four days after Cabrera's 28th birthday. San Francisco acquired Cabrera in the offseason from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for pitcher Jonathan Sanchez.
Cabrera has led the Giants offense for most of the season, hitting a team-leading .346 and OPSing .906 for the season. The positive test apparently occured around the All-Star Break, and appeals pushed the announcement back until today. The Giants' knowledge of the positive test likely hastened their pursuit of Hunter Pence, who San Francisco acquired from the Phillies at the trade deadline.
Cabrera's positive test will likely push Gregor Blanco back into the starting lineup, taking Cabrera's spot in left field alongside Angel Pagan in center and Pence in right. Blanco's playing time has decreased since the Pence acquisition, and he's tallied just 17 plate appearances this month. Blanco is a much worse hitter than Cabrera, with only a .672 OPS and .232 batting average on the season.
The suspension comes at an awful time for the Giants, who are tied at the top of the NL West standings with the Dodgers. The suspension will take Cabrera out of action for the rest of the regular season, and if the Giants are going to make the playoffs, they're going to have to do it without their leading hitters.
It's also worth noting that last month, Cabrera commented on rumors that he had tested positive and steadfastly denied them. So not only is he a cheater, but he's a liar too. Good to know.
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