Thursday, March 27, 2008

New changes to the MLB drug policy, take 3

Seems that the MLBPA and MLB are about to complete their third amendment to their collectively bargained drug policy. I'm sure Marvin Miller just hurled his clicker at his TV.

Both sides have been talking for months since former Sen. George Mitchell released his report on Dec. 13 analyzing the use of those drugs in MLB.

Mitchell made a bevy of recommendations to strengthen the current program, about a half-dozen of which couldn't be adopted unless the changes were collectively bargained.

Mitchell said that the current penalties -- 50 games for the first positive test, 100 for the second and a lifetime ban for the third, with the right to apply for reinstatement after two years -- were adequate. But he advised that the program should be independently administrated, be more transparent, that year-round testing should be increased, and that new and the best practices are able to be implemented without having to re-open the program on each occasion.

The program currently has an independent physician in partial charge of its administration, but he shares that role with a lawyer from MLB and another from the union. Since Mitchell issued his report, Commissioner Bud Selig has said publicly that he's in favor of strengthening the power of the independent administrator without giving him total power and that is expected to be one element of the enhanced program.
MLB's drug program is already VERY tough, but until there's blood testing or urine-based HGH tests, there will be loopholes to exploit.

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