Home MLB News MLB Sees Rise In Exemptions for Stimulants Rise to 108 for 2009

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MLB Sees Rise In Exemptions for Stimulants Rise to 108 for 2009 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 01 December 2009 20:22

MLBMajor League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association today released the annual public report from the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program’s Independent Program Administrator, and with it, more than 100 players were granted special exemptions for the use of stimulants.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) for banned substances totaled 115 for 2009, with 108 of them directly tied to stimulants for Attention Deficit Disorder, up from 106 in 2008 and 103 in 2007.

Below is a complete list of the TUEs granted during the 2009 season:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): 108
  • Hypertension: 2
  • Hypogonadism: 2
  • Narcolepsy: 1
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): 1
  • Post-Concussion Disorder: 1

The total number of drug tests collected over the 2009 year in MLB was 3,722. According to the report, 13 tests were reported by the testing laboratory for having an adverse analytical finding that resulted in discipline. The substances reported were as follows:

  • Performance-Enhancing Substances (1):
    • Nandrolone
  • Stimulants (12):
    • Adderall (11)
    • Clobenzorex (1)

The Joint Drug Agreement between MLB and the MLBPA states that no suspension is given to a player that tests positive for a first time for stimulants, only that the player is subject to follow-up testing.

The agreement between MLB and the MLBPA does not specify what substance a player has tested positive for in relationship to performance-enhancing substances. Press releases simply show that a player has tested positive for PEDs. Four players were suspended as part of the MLB drug policy last year:

On January 6, Sergio Mitre of the Yankees organization, while being assigned to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was suspended 50 games. That same day, Phillies reliever J.C. Romero was suspended 50 games, as well. It was ruled via arbitration that he was negligent for using a nutritional supplement, purchased over the counter (6-OXO-Extreme), which was found to be tainted with androstendione. Both the Mitre and Romero suspensions began when the season started.

Kelvin Pichardo of the Giants organization was suspended 50 games on March 23. At the time of the suspension, Pichardo was a member of the Giants’ 40-man roster and was assigned toTriple-A Fresno. His suspension also started at the beginning of the 2009 season.

The highest profile suspension was for the Dodgers’ Manny Ramirez on May 7. Ramirez became the highest profile player to be suspended during active play. MLB suspends Ramirez for hGC (human chorionic gonadotropin), a female fertility drug. He claimed that his positive test is a result of medication received from a doctor for a personal medical issue. Ramirez is found to have elevated testosterone levels when tested during Spring Training. The elevated levels of testosterone leads to an investigation by the league which then discovers that Ramirez has been using hGC, a substance known to be used by serial steroid users to kick-start the body's natural testosterone products after a steroid cycle. The suspension is, therefore, a "non-analytical positive"; a suspension based upon evidence, not a failed drug test. While hGC is a banned substance due to its coupled use with anibolic steroids, players can request a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for hGC, something Ramirez did not do.

Based upon information around the Ramirez and Romero suspensions, it seems likely that Pichardo or Mitre was the player that tested positive for Nandrolone.

The annual report was issued by Independent Program Administrator, Bryan W. Smith, M.D., Ph.D., and covers the period from the beginning of the 2008-2009 off-season through the end of Major League Baseball’s 2009 postseason. Information regarding off-season testing has not been made available within the report, so it is unknown how much testing is conducted then. The JDA specifies that "as many as 60 tests may be conducted at unannounced times during the off-season."


See the complete history drug suspensions in MLB and Minor League Baseball

Read the Joint Drug Agreement






Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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