Baseball to begin in-season HGH testing

Baseball to begin in-season HGH testing

Published Jan. 10, 2013 11:19 a.m. ET

Major League Baseball will begin in-season blood-testing for human growth hormone and additional testing for testosterone.

Batting leader Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics' pitcher Bartolo Colon both were suspended last season after tests revealed elevated levels of testosterone.

"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," Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "I am proud that our system allows us to adapt to the many evolving issues associated with the science and technology of drug testing. We will continue to do everything we can to maintain a leadership stature in anti-doping efforts in the years ahead."

The announcement comes a day after several prominent stars fell far short of Hall of Fame qualification in balloting by voting members of the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America.

Roger Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young award winner, and home run king Barry Bonds, a seven-time most valuable player, didn't come close to the required 75% of the vote. Both barely surpassed a third of the vote, largely because of their direct links to performance-enhancing drugs.

Rafael Palmiero, who is among only four players with more than 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, received a paltry 8% of the vote.

In fact, no players received enough support for induction -- only the eighth time since 1936 that's happened.

Michael Weiner, executive director of the players' union, said in a statement that players were committed to a tough drug-testing program that works for everyone.  Players want a program that is tough, scientifically accurate, backed by the latest proven scientific methods, and fair; I believe these changes firmly support the players' desires while protecting their legal rights."

MLB began testing minor league players for HGH in July, 2010. The following year, major league players underwent tests. However, those tests were applied only during spring training and the off-season. The new agreement between baseball and the players' union is for year-around testing.

Baseball has also tested for testosterone, which is known for leaving an athlete's system quickly after being used. Under the new testing program, the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Montreal will establish a baseline for testosterone levels in a given player. Test results that fall beyond the normal range for a particular player will receive greater scrutiny.

-Mike Hiserman