Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 8/15/12

How could a player like Melky Cabrera go from being an average outfielder to being the All-Star Game MVP? The answer is pretty simple: performance-enhancing drugs.

Cabrera tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during or just before the All-Star break. He went through the appeals process but ultimately accepted his 50-game suspension on Wednesday for being a first-time violator.

Unlike most violators, Melky actually accepted responsibility for the failed test and apologized.

“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used,” he said in a statement. “I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I 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.”

The Giants are in the playoff race and have played 117 games this season. If they reach the playoffs, Melky would be suspended the first five games of the postseason. If they don’t, he’ll miss the first five games of the 2013 season.

There are a few really interesting side notes to this story, aside from the obvious suspicion this positive test casts on any player having abnormal success at the plate. One, the Giants likely knew Cabrera was facing a 50-game suspension, and that could be why they acquired Hunter Pence from Philadelphia. Two, Cabrera lied to CSN Bay Area writer Andrew Baggarly when the reporter approached him last month about a rumor that he failed a drug test. Baggarly wrote a long apology for asking Cabrera about the rumor, and he still feels that was the right thing to do. Maybe Cabrera should apologize to him for lying to him.

But the positive test further affirms what we already knew: players don’t magically go from being career .275 with an OPS below .750 to tearing up the league with a .346/.390/.516 line. It’s actually somewhat reassuring that he was popped for PEDs.

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