Ma­jor League Base­ball play­ers, own­ers reach drug agree­ment

Sus­pen­sions are re­scinded

The Covington News - - Sports - By Ron­ald Blum

NEW YORK — Base­ball play­ers and own­ers agreed Fri­day to more fre­quent drug test­ing and in­creased — but not to­tal — author­ity for the pro­gram’s out­side ad­min­is­tra­tor.

All play­ers im­pli­cated in De­cem­ber’s Mitchell Re­port on pe­for­mance-en­hanc­ing drugs were given amnesty as part of the agree­ment, which tough­ens base­ball’s drug rules for the third time since the pro­gram be­gan in 2002.

Thus, the deal elim­i­nated 15day sus­pen­sions as­sessed against Jose Guillen and Jay Gib­bons.

The in­de­pen­dent ad­min­is­tra­tor, a po­si­tion cre­ated in Novem­ber 2005, will be given an ini­tial three-year term and can be re­moved only if an ar­bi­tra­tor finds cause. Un­til now, he could be fired at any time by ei­ther side.

But base­ball did not heed ad­vice from the­World Anti-Dop­ing Agency and turn drug test­ing over to an out­side agency.

In ad­di­tion, the de­ci­sion over whether a player can be sub­jected to rea­son­able-cause test­ing will re­main with man­age­ment and the union, with any dis­agree­ment de­cided by the sport’s reg­u­lar ar­bi­tra­tor.

A joint man­age­ment-union body called the Treat­ment

Board will su­per­vise the part of the pro­gram re­lat­ing to drugs of abuse, such as co­caine.

As part of the agree­ment, play­ers will join Ma­jor League Base­ball’s ef­forts to ed­u­cate youth about per­for­manceen­hanc­ing drugs, and their union will con­trib­ute $200,000 to an anti-drug or­ga­ni­za­tion.

In ex­change for those pro­vi­sions, base­ball com­mis­sioner Bud Selig agreed not to dis­ci­pline play­ers im­pli­cated by Mitchell dur­ing his 1½-year in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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