Who Knew About Lawton's Positive Test ... And When?

Since posting our item earlier today about Yankees free agent outfielder Matt Lawton testing postitive for steroids, we've received even further confirmation and now are slowly slipping out of rumor into fact. (UPDATE: Newsday is reporting that MLB will make an announcement about Lawton later today. And, God bless 'em, they even credited Deadspin with having it first. Newsday, not MLB.) In the wake of the news, certain questions are arising about Lawton's strange tours of duty last season.

To wit: At the end of July, the Cubs acquired Lawton from the Pirates, and, less than a month later, realizing they were out of the race, traded him to the Yankees. When it came time for the Yanks to set their playoff roster, they surprised many by leaving Lawton off the team, opting for Don Zimmer bench impersonator Tony Womack and scrappy underdog Bubba Crosby. At the end of the season, Lawton filed for free agency. And now he appears to have been nailed for steroid abuse.

So here's the question: Three teams got rid of Lawton within two months, though, you know, he's better than Tony freaking Womack. The Yankees inexplicably left him off their playoff roster, trading pseudo-prospect Justin Berg. Did any of those teams already know something? How long has this appeal process been going on? Were they waiting for him to become a free agent? Did Steinbrenner know when he traded for him? Was he pissed?

All kinds of questions, people ... all kinds. Stay tuned.

Earlier: Sources: Lawton Has Tested Positive [Deadspin]

(Update: Lawton was just suspended for the first 10 games of the 2006 season. If he has a team.)
(Second update: It has been a bad year for Lawton. After being left off the postseason roster, he returned home to Gulfport, Miss., which was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.")
(Third update: Tomorrow, November 3, is actually Lawton's birthday. Ooof.)