Major League Baseball and the players' association have reached an agreement to expand the sport's drug program to include random in-season blood testing for human growth hormone and a new test devised to catch players using testosterone.
"This agreement addresses critical drug issues and symbolizes Major League Baseball's continued vigilance against synthetic human growth hormone, testosterone and other performance-enhancing substances," commission Bud Selig said in a statement Thursday. "I am proud that our system allows us to adapt to the many evolving issues associated with the science and technology of drug testing. We will continue to do everything we can to maintain a leadership stature in anti-doping efforts in the years ahead."
Under the changes to baseball's drug agreement, the World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Laval, Quebec, will keep records of each player, including his baseline ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, and will conduct Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) tests of any urine specimens that "vary materially."
Michael Weiner, the head of the MLBPA, heralded the new policy as an important step to beef up the sport's drug testing program.
"The Players are determined to do all they can to continually improve the sport's Joint Drug Agreement," he said in a statement. "Players want a program that is tough, scientifically accurate, backed by the latest proven scientific methods, and fair; I believe these changes firmly support the players' desires while protecting their legal rights."
MLB will be the first American professional sports league to test for HGH.
There were eight player suspensions in baseball in 2012, the most since 2007. Weiner said recently that the increased number of positive tests "caught the attention of both sides."