Without the need to collectively bargain a drug program with minor league players, Major League Baseball plans to implement blood testing for human-growth hormone (hGH) later this year, regardless of baseball’s skepticism of a viable test for the substance, according to a report today in the New York Times.
The Minor League Drug and Treatment Program is far more stringent than its MLB counterpart due to negotiations that need to take place with the union for the players. Just this week, new tests for additional PEDs and stimulants were added to the MLB program. The Biz of Baseball recently obtained a copy of the 2009 Minor League drug program, and it is far closer to a WADA-based program than MLB’s. The league has used the minor league program as a jumping off point for the MLB program. As reported by the New York Times, the leap from the new minor league program slated for this year could then be a place to begin negotiations with the MLBPA.
Selig plans to use the same blueprint with H.G.H., with a second baseball official confirming on Tuesday that Selig will now move to get the union’s approval to test for H.G.H. on the major league level.
“We are consulting with our experts concerning immediate steps for our minor league drug program and the next steps for our major league drug program,” the statement said. The National Football League also reacted to news of the positive H.G.H. test, with the spokesman Greg Aiello saying that “this is just further evidence that the testing has become reliable.”
The plans to move forward on the testing comes one day after a British rugby player was suspended for testing positive for hGH.
Reached for comment, Victor Conte the former head of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO), sees the possibility of holes with MLB’s plans to move forward on testing past the minor league level.
“It is important to realize that this rugby player chose not to challenge the validity of his positive blood test for human growth hormone,” Conte said. “Would the available blood test for HGH hold up in a court of law under the scientific scrutiny that lawyers could possibly present in defense of a MLB player? I'm not so sure.”
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