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MLB, union increase penalties for drug cheats

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

(Reuters) - A player suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs will be deemed ineligible for the postseason, one of several stiffer penalties announced on Friday by Major League Baseball and the union representing its players.

Longer bans for first-time offenders plus an increase in the number of in-season random urine collections and unannounced blood collections for the rest of a player's career are among the other penalties introduced effective immediately.

A first-time substance violation will now result in an 80-game ban, increased from 50 games. A second violation will result in a 162-game suspension, up from 100 games, and a third violation will result in a lifetime ban from baseball.

Any player who is suspended for a violation involving a performance-enhancing substance will now be ineligible to participate in the postseason.

The rule comes after Jhonny Peralta rejoined the Detroit Tigers for the 2013 postseason after having served a 50-game ban during the regular season for performance-enhancing drugs.

"I am committed to constantly finding ways to improve the program in order to eradicate performance-enhancing drugs from the game," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.

Fourteen MLB players received bans last year stemming from an investigation into the now-shuttered Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Florida which was suspected of supplying players with performance enhancing drugs.

New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is sitting out the entire 2014 season as his punishment for violating MLB's doping program.

Among the other changes, in-season random urine collections will rise to 3,200 from 1,400. Blood collections for human growth hormone detection will increase to 400 random collections per year, in addition to the mandatory one for each player during spring training.

Every player whose ban for a performance-enhancing substance is upheld will be subject to six additional unannounced urine collections, and three additional unannounced blood collections, during every subsequent year of his career.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto and Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Gene Cherry)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140328/mlb-union-increase-penalties-drug-cheats