MLBPA releases its statement on HGH testing

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HGH.jpgThe entire statement can be read here.  The relevant part in my mind:

This week, a British rugby player was suspended as a result of a
reported positive blood test for HGH.   This development warrants
investigation and scrutiny; we already have conferred with our experts
on this matter, and with the Commissioner’s Office, and we immediately
began gathering additional information.  However, a report of a single
uncontested positive does not scientifically validate a drug test.  As
press reports have suggested, there remains substantial debate in the
testing community about the scientific validity of blood testing for
HGH.   And, as we understand it, even those who vouch for the
scientific validity of this test acknowledge that it can detect use
only 18-36 hours prior to collection.

Putting these important issues aside, inherent in blood testing of
athletes are concerns of health, safety, fairness and competition not
associated with urine testing.  We have conferred initially with the
Commissioner’s Office about this reported positive test, as we do
regarding any development in this area.  We look forward to continuing
to jointly explore all questions associated with this testing — its
scientific validity, its effectiveness in deterring use, its
availability and the significant complications associated with blood
testing, among others.

This pretty much tracks my thinking from yesterday.  Jumping in with both feet now, based on the rugby player’s test would be an exercise in PR, not a reasoned implementation of expanded PED testing.

To the extent there’s a line in the sand here, it’s that the union seems unwilling to accept blood testing of any kind, instead wanting to wait for a urine test.  I know that no urine test exists for HGH. The key question here is whether that’s the case simply because one hasn’t been developed yet or if there is some physiological reason why there can never be a urine test (Rays Fan — any insight here?).

Either way, I expect someone to spin the blood/urine test as the union being intransigent.  To those who do, I ask whether or not their employer tests their blood on a routine basis, and if not, how they would feel about it if they suddenly began to do so.

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays in part of three-team deal

Tampa Bay Rays
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Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert adds that the Rays will get two players to be named later from the D-Backs.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.