Baseball sluggers Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, who helped the Boston Red Sox end an 86-year World Series title drought in 2004, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

Ortiz and Ramirez were among the roughly 100 Major League Baseball players who tested positive in what was meant to be confidential testing, the Times said, citing unidentified lawyers with knowledge of the results.

Ramirez, now playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was suspended for 50 games this season for testing positive for a banned substance.

The information about Ramirez and Ortiz, who also helped Boston win the 2007 World Series, emerged through interviews with multiple lawyers and others connected to pending litigation, the Times said.

The lawyers spoke anonymously because the testing information is under seal by a court order and they did not identify which drugs were detected, the newspaper said.

The Boston Red Sox declined to comment about the story.

Major League Baseball's 2003 testing was conducted in agreement with the players' union to determine if there would be mandatory random testing in 2004, which was instituted after a threshold of 5 percent positive tests was exceeded.

Results of the confidential testing were obtained by the government in conjunction with an investigation into the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs to professional athletes.

In February, New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez admitted the accuracy of a Sports Illustrated report that his name was on the 2003 list of players testing positive.

(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Eric Beech)