NEW YORK Baseball players and owners have reached an agreement on a tougher steroid-testing program and plan to announce it Thursday, the Associated Press has learned.
The agreement will include penalties for first-time offenders, an AL player said on condition of anonymity. Other details, such as the frequency of tests, were not immediately available.
Commissioner Bud Selig, asked about a steroid agreement at the owners meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., declined to comment but did say: We ll have announcements to make tomorrow. Gene Orza, the union s chief operating officer, also declined to comment.
I m glad we could come to an agreement, said Chicago Cubs pitcher Mike Remlinger, who was briefed on the deal today. It was the right thing to do. I think it was something that needed to be done, and I think players understand it needed to be addressed.
The sides spent the past month negotiating the deal after the union s executive board gave its staff approval to pursue an agreement on a more rigorous testing program. Some in Congress threatened to take action unless baseball reached an agreement on its own.
Players and owners agreed to a drug-testing plan in 2002 that called for survey-testing for steroids the following year. Because more than 5 percent of tests were positive, random testing with penalties began last year. Each player was tested for steroids twice over a single five- to seven-day period.
A first positive test resulted in treatment. If a player tested positive again, he would have been subject to a 15-day suspension.
No player was suspended for steroid use in 2004.
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