The San Francisco Giants suffered a blow to their postseason aspirations as outfielder Melky Cabrera has been suspended for 50 games for testing positive for testosterone, which means he will be absent for the remainder of the regular season.
The Giants are currently tied with the Dodgers in the National League West, and Cabrera has been a key figure in the Giants' offense. His regular season numbers included 11 home runs, 60 runs batted in, 10 triples, and 13 stolen bases, and the left-fielder had an impressive .346 batting average and a .516 slugging percentage
Cabrera hit a double in four at-bats in Tuesday's game against the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park in what will prove to be his final game of the 2012 season.
"My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used," Cabrera said in a statement released by the union. "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."
Hope may not be lost for the Giants.
While the loss of Cabrera is a setback, the team welcomed back third baseman Pablo Sandoval on Monday. The 26-year-old had been out since July 24, and has a batting average of .295 to go along with eight home runs. Sandoval has had two stints on the disabled list, and has played in only 65 of the Giants 117 games this season.
San Francisco will also look for more production out of Hunter Pence. The two-time All-Star outfielder was acquired before the trade deadline, but has batted just .186 in 59 at-bats with the Giants so far.
Gregor Blanco will likely get the bulk of the at-bats with Cabrera out of the lineup. Blanco has just five home runs this season and has a .232 batting average, but he is a threat on the base paths with 19 stolen bases in 22 attempts.