Commissioner Bud Selig announced today that MLB will be stepping up its testing procedures for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). The announcement came on the final day of the quarterly Owners Meetings being held in Paradise Valley Arizona. The changes will become effective immediately. The league will now conduct random blood tests to detect human growth hormone (HGH) during the regular season.
MLB has also teamed with the Montreal laboratory of the World Anti-Doping Agency to institute a test designed to detect the use of synthetic testosterone. The lab will procure samples from every player and establish a base-line testosterone ratio that can be compared to samples taken at a later date.
The players, trying to create a level playing field and separate themselves from the stigma associated with the steroid era, have agreed to the new testing procedures. Executive Director of the Players Association, Michael Weiner, released a statement that included the following quote.
I believe these changes firmly support the players’ desires while protecting their legal rights.
While the base-line test to detect synthetic testosterone is something new, HGH testing has been around for a few years now. Tests were first conducted in the minor leagues back in 2010. Major League players became subject to HGH testing in November of 2011, but the tests were only administered during the offseason and Spring Training. It will be harder for players to beat the new tests that will be conducted randomly.
Selig said “this is a very proud day for baseball” as the sport that once turned a blind eye to PED use has now become a leader in the field of testing. Will we see an increase in the number of positive tests resulting in suspensions? I would have to think so.