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Archive for Saturday, April 12, 2008

MLB amends drug policy

Guillen’s suspension eliminated

April 12, 2008

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— 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 15-day suspensions assessed against Kansas City Royals outfielder Jose Guillen and former Baltimore Orioles outfielder 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 the World 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. Also, a joint management-union body called the Treatment Board will supervise the part of the program relating to drugs of abuse, such as cocaine.

Guillen and Gibbons were suspended in December following media reports linking them to performance-enhancing drugs. Those penalties were put on hold just before opening day as negotiators neared an agreement.

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