Royals infielder Miguel Tejada received a 105-game suspension Saturday afternoon after twice testing positive for amphetamines in violation of Major League Baseball’s drug policy.
Major League Baseball announced the ban prior to the Royals’ game against Detroit at Comerica Park. Tejada chose not to appeal the suspension but cited a medical condition as the reason for taking the banned substance.
“I apologize to my teammates, the Royals’ organization and to the Kansas City fans,” he said in a statement released through the players’ union. “I have a medical condition that requires medication to treat.
“I took that medication while reapplying for a Therapeutic Use Exemption. Under the requirements of the Joint Drug Program, I made a mistake in doing so.”
Major League Baseball did not identify the banned substance, but sources told The Star it was Adderall, which is generally used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Royals officials declined comment on Tejada’s suspension while citing Major League Baseball’s prohibition from doing so. They previously denied any knowledge of Tejada failing a drug test.
The suspension comes six days after the Royals placed Tejada, 39, on the 60-day disabled list because of a severely strained right calf suffered Aug. 10 while diving for a ground ball.
“He was awesome while he was here,” manager Ned Yost said. “It doesn’t have much of an impact for us (on the field) because he was already out for the year with the calf (injury).”
The news appeared to catch teammates off guard.
“Absolutely, I was surprised,” third baseman Mike Moustakas said. “Miggy is a great teammate, a great leader and a great mentor. He was a great mentor to me. He’s helped me out a lot. We’re going to miss him.”
Tejada signed with the Royals in December after not playing in 2012. Club officials believed he could provide a veteran presence to what is, generally, a young club and could be particularly helpful to Latin players.
“Maybe he made a mistake,” shortstop Alcides Escobar said, “but that’s a great guy. Everybody saw it on the TV, and it’s tough. He’s a really good teammate. He’s been one of the best guys in here.”
By all accounts, Tejada supplied those qualities in addition to performing beyond expectations. He batted .288 with three homers and 20 RBIs in 53 games prior to his calf injury.
“He definitely played well,” pitcher James Shields said. “He’s one of the best situational hitters in the game. I’ve faced him for many, many years, but I never really knew him as a teammate (until this season).
“It’s a shame because I really liked him a lot as a teammate. He was so much fun to be around. He came here with a smile every day. He really lifted our team up and helped the young guys out a lot.”
The suspension is effective immediately and covers the final 41 games games of the current season and the first 64 games of next season. A fourth violation, if one occurred, would result in a lifetime ban. He will lose the rest of his salary for this season, roughly $250,000.
Tejada received the third-longest, non-lifetime suspension in baseball history for a drug-related violation. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is appealing a 211-game ban. Reliever Steve Howe got 119 games in 1992.
“I believe (Tejada) had an (exemption) for Adderall a long time ago,” Shields said, “but we have a drug-prevention program. If you don’t follow the rules, you’re going to get suspended.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an MVP or king of the world. If you’re going to do things that are illegal, you’re going to get caught, and you’re going to get suspended.”
Tejada has been a six-time All-Star in a 16-year career with six teams. He was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2002 while playing for Oakland.
He’s the third former MVP to receive a drug-related suspension within the last month. Milwaukee left fielder Ryan Braun, the 2011 NL winner, is currently serving a 65-game ban. Rodriguez is a three-time AL winner.
Tejada pleaded guilty in 2009 to lying to Congress after admitting he withheld information about a teammate’s use of performance-enhancing drugs during questioning. He was sentenced to one year of probation.
In 2008, Tejada acknowledged to lying about his age. He told the Oakland A’s in 1993 that he was 17 when he signed as a free agent in the Dominican Republic. He was actually 19.