Major League Baseball institutes pre-signing drug testing in the D.R.

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Thumbnail image for dominican republic flag.jpgAn announcement of two new initiatives from Sandy Alderson’s Office of Major League Baseball in the Dominican Republic:

First, in cooperation with independent trainers, MLB has launched
workshops that will educate unsigned young players about the dangers of
performance-enhancing substances.

Second, beginning today, MLB will institute a comprehensive
registration and drug testing program for unsigned prospects who will
become eligible to sign professional contracts after July 1, 2010.

This is a good move. Baseball invests far too much in international signing to mess around with players who juice up while being scouted, give teams an inflated sense of their
strength and speed and then go off the stuff and reveal themselves to be
lesser players once minor league testing kicks in.

Which has been happening quite a bit lately. You’ll recall that back in March the Indians announced that they were going to do this on their own.  My concern at the time was that this would simply work to make players avoid the Indians and whatever handful of teams adopted such a policy.

Good for Major League Baseball for taking a comprehensive approach to this.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.