Officials from the players’ union met with the Texas Rangers on Monday morning and one of the talking points was performance-enhancing drugs.
Union officials told the players that there will be more frequent testing this season and two veterans on the team are hopeful that stiffer penalties are next.
“I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but guys get too many chances,” reliever Jason Frasor said. “They need to be harsher.”
Catcher J.P. Arencibia agreed, saying the penalties need to be more severe to deter players from using banned substances. Players who test positive a first time are suspended 50 games; a second offense is a 100-game suspension; and a third offense is a lifetime ban.
MLB has the leeway to deliver longer penalties if it has enough evidence to prove a non-analytical positive test on a player, as it did during the Biogenesis of America scandal last season.
“Heck yeah, I want them stricter,” Arencibia said. “I know what I do is USADA [U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] approved. I worked hard to get where I’m at. They can test as much as they want. If they want to test every day, other than it being a pain in the butt, it’d be worth it.”
One of the hurdles, Arencibia said, is finding a middle ground with the supplements that possibly trigger a positive test. A player who takes an over-the-counter cough medicine that contains a banned substance, for instance, shouldn’t be punished as much as a player who takes steroids or human growth hormone (HGH).
“That’s what they’re working on,” Arencibia said. “Trying to find that middle ground. Everyone wants strict rules, but also want the guys who make a mistake as far as taking a cough medicine to not be punished as much as a guy taking steroids.”
Said Derek Holland, the Rangers’ player representative: “I don’t know why people keep doing it, but it’s going to come to a point where it’s going to be a lot more harsher, a lot harder to get away with for those who are doing it.”
Outside of the performance-enhancing drug discussion, other topics included the new replay system and the new home-plate collision rule. It also served as an introductory meeting as Tony Clark is in his first year as union head.