Major League Baseball will test for human growth hormone throughout the regular season and increase efforts to detect abnormal levels of testosterone.
Players were subject to blood testing for HGH during spring training last year, and this new agreement between management and the players’ association expands that throughout the season. Those are in addition to urine tests for other performance-enhancing drugs.
Baseball began random drug testing in 2003, testing with penalties the following year and suspensions for first offenders in 2005. Initial penalties were lengthened from 10 days to 50 games in 2006, when illegal amphetamines were banned. The number of tests has gradually increased over the past decade.
Each player will be tested at least once and the World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Laval, Quebec, will keep records of each player, including his baseline ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, and will conduct Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) tests of any urine specimens that “vary materially.”
Christiane Ayotte, director of the Canadian laboratory, said that the addition of random blood testing and a “longitudinal profiling program makes baseball’s program second to none in detecting and deterring the use of synthetic HGH and testosterone.”
She said the program compares favorably with any program conducted by WADA.