Pubdate: Thu, 04 Sep 2003
Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Players in Latin America with minor-league contracts will be tested
for drugs by major league baseball starting next year.

"There was enough out there in terms of issues people had raised to us
that the prudent thing to do from our perspective was to spend the
money and find out if we have a problem," Rob Manfred, executive
vice-president for labour relations in the commissioner's office, said

The commissioner's office has been testing minor leaguers in the
United States since 2001, but decided to expand its program following
a series of articles in The Washington Post, which first reported
baseball's decision yesterday.

The Post reported in June that many prospects in the Dominican
Republic had injected animal drugs, including steroids. Major league
teams run academies in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, signing
many prospects to minor-league contracts.

"The real winners today are the children of families of Latin
America," said Fernando Mateo, president of Hispanics Across America.
"Young players in the Dominican Republic and across Latin America will
now enjoy the safeguards against dangerous steroids that they deserve."

Players with minor-league contracts undergo up to three random tests
per year under baseball's policy.

There is a different policy for players with major-league contracts,
who are represented by the Major League Baseball Players

Under a drug-testing agreement that began this year -- the first
covering the major leagues since 1985 -- each player was given two
announced tests for illegal steroids as part of a survey.

If more than 5 per cent test positive for steroids, "program" testing
starts in 2004 and continues until less than 2.5 per cent test
positive in two consecutive years combined. If there is program
testing in 2004, owners can conduct up to 240 additional random tests.

Players with major league contracts are not tested randomly for drugs
of abuse such as cocaine, LSD, marijuana and opiates.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake