Memo discusses 2003 survey testing

VIERA, Fla. -- Baseball's players' union distributed a memo at spring training camps Tuesday with information about 2003 drug testing, handing out the legal-sized sheets of paper around the time Alex Rodriguez was discussing his use of banned drugs.

The two-sided page, addressed to all players, is from Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Donald Fehr and general counsel Michael Weiner. The memo tells players "to be careful" answering "questions sparked by the media frenzy surrounding these stories."

"You have undoubtedly seen the recent news reports concerning our 2003 drug-testing program and the court cases related to it. We write to make sure you are informed about the facts of these matters and the Players Association's positions," it begins.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the memo.

It was handed out to players or left in clubhouse lockers or on chairs. Some players ignored it, others read it, while at least one was seen crumpling it up and tossing it in a garbage can.

"It's something we already knew," reliever Mark Lowe said at Mariners camp in Peoria, Ariz. "It's over and done with."

Rodriguez held a news conference at Yankees camp in Tampa on Tuesday, answering questions about taking banned substances. He first admitted using performance enhancers last week, after Sports Illustrated reported he was on a list of 104 players who tested positive during the 2003 tests.

Those test results were supposed to remain anonymous, but federal agents seized the records and samples from baseball's contractors in April 2004 during raids in connection with the BALCO probe in San Francisco. Although the agents originally had search warrants for the records of 10 players, they discovered the broader records and came back with additional search warrants.

The union's memo outlines in question-and-answer form several issues related to those tests and the records.

"What was the purpose of the 2003 drug testing?" is the first question.

Among the others:

• "Why weren't the samples destroyed? Did the MLBPA delay for months?"

• "Is there a list with names of players?"

• "How should I respond if I am asked about the 2003 tests?"

The answer given below that query includes a paragraph reading: "We would also urge you to be careful in responding to any other questions sparked by the media frenzy surrounding these stories. Much of what has been said or written about the MLBPA is wrong, or is so inaccurate and incomplete as to be completely misleading."

The last question in the memo is: "Did any MLBPA official improperly tip off players about the 2004 tests?"

The answer begins: "As we have said before, there was no improper tipping of players. Any allegations that Gene Orza or any other MLBPA official acted improperly are wrong."