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Report on Drug Testing in MLB Shows Few In League Testing Positive for Banned Substances PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 09 January 2009 18:20

Drug Testing ReportAs part of the updated Joint Drug Agreement between MLB and the MLB Player’s Association (see the latest JDA), Bryan W. Smith, the Independent Program Administrator for MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program today released his annual report detailing specifics over the past year, as it pertains to the 40-man rosters for the 30 MLB teams.

(See the report from MLB and the MLBPA)

The report shows that 3,486 tests were conducted over the course of last season, and of them, 19 tests reported by the lab overseeing the testing program showed adverse analytical findings that resulted in discipline, or less than 1 percent (0.55%) of the total samples tested.

Names of those associated with disciplines are not part of the report, nor are details of those players that were granted Therapeutic Use Exemptions.


Below is a break down of the nineteen analytical positives, based on type and substance:

Adverse Analytical Findings
Performance Enhancing Substances
Androstenedione 2
Nandrolone 1
Stanozol 1
Testosterone 1
Adderall 8
Clobenzorex 5
Dexedrine 1

Note that on the stimulant side, these numbers reflect those that were first time positives, and therefore, based upon the agreement between the players and management, the player names were not released to the public, as was the case in 2007 when Mike Cameron and Neifi Perez were suspended.

The report also shows the number of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) that were granted players. The IPA granted 106 exemptions, up from 103 last year, with the vast majority of the exemptions being granted for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD). Below is a break down of the TUEs granted over the course of the 2008 season:

Theraputic Use Exemptions (TUEs)
Attention Deficit Disorder 106
Post-Concussion Syndrome
Metabolic Myapothy

What will certainly be a morbid game of connect-the-dots, fans will be looking to connect names to the categories. The three cases of Hypogonadism will certainly play out across the blogsphere.

Taking Other MLB Affiliated Leagues into Account

Lastly, there are an incredible number of positive tests coming out of the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer Leagues, on top of the minors (see a complete list of all players ever suspended, including the 64 players at the MiLB and Dominican and Venezuelan League levels in 2008). The report does not address that issue, because it is not part of the drug testing agreement between MLB and the MLBPA. However, it is a large and looming issue that will become more clear as the first full year that reports of positive tests in the South American summer leagues become available this year. In that sense, the title of the article should be focused on just MLB players, not the development teams associated with MLB. In that sense, the league has a considerable mountain to climb before one can believe that the message that a zero-tolorance drug testing policy is doing its work across the board at this time.

Source: Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Player's Association

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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