PED-users beware, the business end of Major League Baseball’s performance enhancing drug policy has just picked up.
Today, the MLB and players’ association announced some big-time improvements to the joint drug plan.
First, they’ve increased the number of random urine samples that will be collected during the season from 1,400 to 3,200. This is in addition to the mandatory samples that players are subject to. They’ve also increased the number of random HGH blood samples to 400, in addition to the 1,200 samples that are collected during Spring Training.
Second, the penalties have been stepped up. First-time offenders will face an 80-game suspension, second-time offenders will face a full 162-game season ban, and as before third offenses will result in a lifetime ban.
And maybe most significantly, a player who is popped for a drug program violation during the season will be ineligible to play in the postseason, regardless of when his given suspension ends. That means there will no longer be cases like Jhonny Peralta from a year ago, who after serving a 50-game suspension returned and was a key offensive weapon for the Tigers during their playoff run.
There are more details and nuances to the revised rules. You can read about them here.
Somewhere Pops is smiling.