Major League Baseball and the players Association reach an agreement that will expand testing for human growth hormone (HGH) throughout the regular season. Last year players were subject to blood testing for HGH during spring training. Thursday’s announcement comes a day after Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa failed to gain election into the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.
Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa have all been associated with performance-enhancing drugs. random drug testing for baseball began in 2003, followed by testing with penalties the following year. Baseball began issuing suspensions for first-time offenders in 2005. Initial penalties were lengthened from 10 days to 50 games in 2006, when illegal amphetamines were banned. The number of tests has gradually increased over the past decade.
Commissioner Bud Selig issued a statement. “This is a proud and a great day for baseball,” Selig said. “We’ll continue to be a leader in this field and do what we have to do.”
Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president for economics and league affairs, said each player will be tested at least once.
“Players want a program that is tough, scientifically accurate, backed by the latest proven scientific methods, and fair,” union head Michael Weiner said in a statement. “I believe these changes firmly support the players’ desires while protecting their legal rights.”
Additionally, more rigorous protocol will be established for detecting synthetic testosterone. Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants and Bartolo Colon of the Oakland Athletic sserved 50-game testosterone suspensions last season, and the use of synthetic testosterone was of particular concern in baseball’s fight against performance-enhancing drugs.
Selig saluted Michael Weiner, the current union chief, for negotiating the revised policy.