MLB, players agree to expand drug testing

Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:06pm EST
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - Major League Baseball and the players' union have agreed to expand their drug program to include random in-season blood testing for human growth hormone and a new test for testosterone, they said on Thursday.

The advanced testing will start this season, in what will be the sternest doping program in major North American professional sports.

"This agreement addresses critical drug issues and symbolizes Major League Baseball's continued vigilance against synthetic human growth hormone, testosterone and other performance-enhancing substances," MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.

The new steps moved baseball well ahead of the National Football League (NFL), which does not test for HGH or have a similar test for testosterone.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) challenged the NFL Players' Association (NFLPA) to follow suit in agreeing to such tests.

"This is a strong statement by the players and the league not only confirming the scientific validity of the HGH blood test and the benefit of longitudinal testing, but also the importance of clean athletes' rights and the integrity of the game," USADA said in a statement.

"This agreement, following the recent Congressional hearings on testing in the NFL, leaves no reason for the NFLPA not to step up and implement the same to give its players an equal level of protection and confidence that they deserve a level, drug-free playing field in the NFL."

Michael Weiner, executive director of the MLB Players' Association, said Major League players supported the expanded program.   Continued...