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Padres GM: Everth Cabrera ban 'painful, but necessary'

Photo: Andy Hayt/Getty Images

Everth Cabrera, the NL's leader in stolen bases, was one of 12 players banned 50 games.

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- San Diego lost All-Star shortstop Everth Cabrera when he was suspended for 50 games Monday for his connection to a drug case.

It's a disappointing development for the Padres, even if general manager Josh Byrnes thinks it's good for baseball.

Cabrera, who leads the NL with 37 stolen bases, was penalized by Major League Baseball for his relationship to Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Florida accused of distributing banned performing-enhancing drugs.

"As we continue to try to clean up the game, it's a painful but necessary step," Byrnes said during a conference call.

"This is difficult. It hits close to home," he added. "But in the longer view it's a good thing for the game. I think this is a big day for Major League Baseball and the players who've been clean for some time. Their voices are being heard."

Byrnes and manager Bud Black said they still don't know Cabrera's level of involvement with Biogenesis.

"Obviously, guys have been suspended without a positive test, so we'll probably find out a little more what the evidence or information was that led to his suspension," Byrnes said.

Black met with Cabrera during spring training. "We're satisfied by what we heard," Black said then. "We believe this will resolve itself in a positive way."

"That was four months ago and maybe through more investigation or more research as it pertained to Cabby, things changed," Black said Monday. "What those things are, I don't know."

Black thinks Cabrera had been told by the union and his agent "to probably be as close-lipped as he could. We didn't know a lot of what was going on. We didn't know what Cabby's situation was in regard to the Biogenesis clinic."

"Cabby expressed that he made a mistake even getting involved," Black added. "Again, I don't know the level of involvement. I think all of us in the game hope all players are past this. With this, we hope Cabby learns a valuable lesson. I do think that through this, through the season, he was remorseful. Time will tell how his career moves forward. He's got to find a way to put this behind him."

While the Padres control Cabrera's rights for a few more years, "I don't think we'll give him a long term deal until we know more," Byrnes said.

The switch-hitting Cabrera was San Diego's leadoff batter. He is hitting .283 with 54 runs scored, four homers and 31 RBIs.

He led the NL with 44 stolen bases last year.

Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal was suspended the first 50 games of the season for testing positive to testosterone. He's out for the season with a knee injury.

Pitcher Fautino De Los Santos, who was on the Padres' 40-man roster when the Biogenesis names first leaked out, also was suspended. He's rehabbing an injury in Arizona.

"It's obvious that it was the clinic 3,000 miles away that was sort of the center of all this," Byrnes said. "It affected us and we've got to deal with it."

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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