11/13/2003 5:05 PM ET
Program testing for Major Leaguers for steroids to commence in 2004
Commissioner Selig's statement
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association today announced results of the 2003 testing survey undertaken pursuant to the new Basic Agreement between the Clubs and Players.
In 2003, 1,438 anonymous, unannounced tests were conducted. The number of positives was between five and seven percent, and therefore exceeded the threshold in the Basic Agreement for the institution of program testing. Under program testing, all players, starting March 2, 2004, will be subject to the same testing as occurred in the survey on a random basis, only this time the identity of those tested will be known, and positive test results could lead to discipline, including suspension of the offending player.
All players on the 40-man rosters were randomly selected for testing at unannounced times in 2003. In addition, 240 players, also randomly selected, were tested a second time, again on an unannounced basis. Because of the double-testing of many players, the actual number of players on the 40-man rosters who tested positive (as opposed to the number of tests producing positive results) is not determinable.
In announcing the test results, Rob Manfred, the Clubs' representative on the Health Policy Advisory Committee, which oversees the testing program, said: "We believe that last season's testing helped address the problem of steroid use and that the more vigorous testing and enforcement program next year will be a further step forward on this issue."
Gene Orza, the Association's representative on the Committee, said: "Plainly, many of the widely publicized claims regarding steroid use in the sport turn out to have been grossly uninformed, as do the suggestions that the agreement with the Clubs was designed to avoid a penalty-based testing regimen. That said, we will continue to work with the Clubs in the administration of the new testing program in the same spirit of cooperation that marked the administration of the 2003 survey testing."