Report: MLB proposes putting disabled list back at 15 games

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One of the changes brought forth by the 2016 Collective Bargaining Agreement was the reduction of the minimum disabled list stay from 15 days to ten days. At the time this seemed like a win-win. If they only faced being out ten days rather than 15, players would be under less pressure to play through an injury. Likewise, teams would be less likely to play shorthanded while injuries were assessed.

Then a funny thing happened: teams began to use the DL as a means of cycling pitchers on and off the roster, allowing them to bring in fresh arms with greater frequency. The result: a significant increase in the amount of players used, particularly relief pitchers. Bullpenning strategies that have developed over the past couple of years have been greatly aided by a shorter DL stay. Such strategies, in turn, have contributed to a reduction in offense.

Which leads to today’s report from Ronald Blum of the Associated Press:

Major League Baseball has proposed going back to a 15-day disabled list and increasing the time optioned players usually must spend in the minor leagues, a person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press, moves aimed at reducing the use of relief pitchers and reviving offense.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the plans were not publicly announced.

It’s a balance, I suppose. Will such a thing encourage teams trying to get guys to play through injuries more than it’ll help revive offense and suppress pitching dominance? I dunno. I don’t suspect anyone can say they know for sure. I do know that some of the injuries for which guys have been DL’d in recent years have seemed . . . less than ominous sounding. A lot of “finger contusions” just after a couple of extra inning games and a stretch of ten games without a day off.

Sorry, I realize we have a reputation for having sharp opinions on this sort of thing, but I’m having a hard time developing one here. If I had to choose I’d say it’s worth going back to the 15-day if, for no other reason, than to stop front offices from taking advantage of something designed to deal with injuries to gain a competitive advantage.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

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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.