posted on Apr, 6 2004 @ 01:17 PM
MLB wont retest 2003 THG
Major League Baseball will not retest the approximately 500 samples remaining from last year's drug tests for the steroid THG, a baseball official
said Monday. Results of the drug tests on Barry Bonds and several other players are being sought by federal prosecutors probing a San Francisco-area
nutritional supplements lab. It is not clear if the samples for Bonds and those other players are among the ones that still exist.
The urine samples were taken from players last year as part of baseball's effort to determine the scope of steroid use. When more than 5 percent of
samples showed evidence of steroids, new regulations -- including punishments -- were imposed beginning this season.
Two samples were taken from each of the more than 1,400 major league players last season. Most were destroyed, but about 500 were saved when a grand
jury in San Francisco issued a subpoena for baseball's drug tests. Since two tests were taken on each major leaguer, the surviving tests could have
come from as few as 250 players -- and as many as 500.
The steroid tests did not check for THG, which was unmasked last summer. Officials did not know of THG's existence when the baseball tests were
carried out last season. THG is at the center of the federal probe.
"There will be no effort by Major League Baseball to retest the samples because our agreement [with the players' union] does not allow it," said Rob
Manfred, baseball's executive vice president for labor relations.
The tests were supposed to remain anonymous. But Manfred said the subpoena seeks urine samples and paperwork showing drug-test results from Bonds,
Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi and a handful of other players as part of the federal probe into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. Bonds, Sheffield
and Giambi, all of whom have denied steroid use, testified before the grand jury probing BALCO.
The subpoena demands that the material be turned over to federal prosecutors in San Francisco by this Thursday. Manfred would not comment on whether
Major League Baseball will try to block the material from being given to prosecutors.
Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the players' association, could not be reached Monday for comment on whether the union will try to quash the
subpoena. Baseball's steroid tests were carried out by Comprehensive Drug Testing of Long Beach, Calif., and Quest Diagnostics of Teterboro, N.J.
The steroid probe has led to charges against four men: BALCO founder Victor Conte, BALCO vice president James Valente, track coach Remi Korchemny and
Greg Anderson, the personal trainer for Bonds. All have pleaded not guilty to being part of an alleged ring that distributed steroids to professional
athletes. Dozens of athletes testified as part of the probe. No athlete has been charged.
Also on Monday, commissioner Bud Selig said Major League Baseball should adopt the policy for steroids and other drugs used by the minor leagues.
Selig stood by his decision to not push for a stronger drug policy in the last contract bargaining talks with the players' association, saying he did
not want to jeopardize those talks and risk a work stoppage. Now, he said, baseball must take a tougher stance.
"It clearly is a health issue,"Selig told reporters at the Milwaukee-St. Louis game. "It's clearly an integrity issue for the game. It clearly affects
a lot of ways the game is played and therefore we need it. "There's no beating around the bush. That's just the way it is. It's a problem. I've said
it's a problem. You can't let anything besmirch the game."