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SAS CITY -- Surprise and sadness were the prevailing reactions when the Royals learned on Wednesday that former teammate Melky Cabrera had drawn a 50-game suspension for using testosterone, a performance-enhancing substance.
"It was sad, I was sorry to hear it," manager Ned Yost said.
Yost said he saw no hint of Cabrera using any banned substances last year when he staged a terrific bounceback season, batting .305 with 18 homers and 87 RBIs. Cabrera was traded to San Francisco in the offseason for pitcher Jonathan Sanchez, who was subsequently dealt to Colorado for pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.
"It always surprises me now, knowing how strict the policy is and how thorough they test nowadays," Yost said. "There's no excuse for anybody to take anything that is not OK'd by our training staff. And that's what we do [for] any supplement. Because you can buy over-the-counter supplements and stuff now that can trigger these tests and get you in big trouble. So we tell our guys that you don't take anything unless the trainer gives it to you."
Cabrera was having a superb season for the Giants, with a .346 average and a Major League-leading 159 hits.
"I think everyone was pretty surprised," Royals second baseman Chris Getz said. "It was unfortunate for him, for the Giants, for baseball. He was a great teammate here, he worked hard and obviously had a great season last year, and he continued on over there. But it's still very shocking. I mean, what a risk. We obviously don't know the whole story, we only know what's reported right now, but the way the testing is it's a pretty strict program. If you're going to take something ... talk about rolling the dice. It's going to hit him hard, it's going to hit his team hard going forward."
Cabrera, who won the Most Valuable Player Award in this year's All-Star Game in Kansas City, immediately acknowledged his mistake.
"The thing that I'm at least happy for Melky is that he was a good guy and came out and admitted it," Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. "Everybody knows he was in the wrong to do it ... but for him to admit it says a lot. I'm just disappointed for him because all of us in here pulled for him so much, and myself and Gordo [Alex Gordon] were in the outfield with him last year and were so proud of him to come back to the All-Star Game this year and hit the home run and do what he did, but obviously we're just real disappointed for him now."
The Giants are battling the Dodgers for the National League West title.
"He brought a lot of life here and you can tell he did the same for them this year. That's a huge loss for them," Francoeur said. "We sit here and talk about it, but you know what -- [the Giants] have got to be feeling when they're tied with the Dodgers and you're losing your three-hole hitter with the most hits in the league for the rest of the year. It's tough."
Cabrera is coming up on free agency, too.
"It's going to cost him money and it may cost his team [playing in the] postseason," Getz said.