MLB players' union seeks 'valid' HGH blood test
The new head of the Major League Baseball Players Assn. said Saturday that the union was willing to consider blood tests for detecting the banned substance human growth hormone (HGH) in ballplayers but that the test must be scientifically reliable.
The comments by Michael Weiner, who succeeded Donald Fehr as the MLBPA's executive director in December, came in response to news this week that a British rugby player had accepted a two-year ban after choosing not to contest a positive blood test for HGH.
"People associated with that test believe it's scientifically valid; other scientists in the testing community dispute that," Weiner said after visiting the Angels at their spring-training facility in Tempe, Ariz.
"The fact that there has been a positive [result] that an athlete has chosen not to challenge is a factor that raises the profile" of possible HGH testing in baseball, he said. "But that doesn't make it scientifically valid."
Weiner said the rugby case "does mean that it's time for everybody -- us, the [MLB] commissioner's office -- to assess the science behind it. But the short answer is, I don't equate a single, unchallenged positive with scientific validity, and I don't think anybody would."
But if a test is found valid by the union and Major League Baseball, it could become part of the two sides' joint drug program before the two sides reach their next labor contract, he said.
"I would expect that over the course of this year we’ll be discussing this and if improvements are called for, if changes are called for, we’ll make them; it doesn’t have to wait" for a new collective-bargaining agreement, Weiner said.
-- Jim Peltz, in Tempe