Major League Baseball is eyeing the development of a mass-use blood test for human growth hormone and would push to have it implemented next season if it were available, USA Today reported.
The blood test, which was developed under the oversight of the World Anti-Doping Agency and was used on a limited basis in the 2004 Summer Olympics and 2006 Winter Games, will be available for mass use within months, WADA science director Olivier Rabin told the newspaper. "This is great news, because we strongly believe that human growth hormone is abused in sports," he said.
"We're cautiously optimistic," Gary Green, a UCLA doctor and consultant for MLB, told the newspaper. "Talking to [Commissioner Bud Selig,] if the test becomes widely available, he certainly would be in favor of getting that implemented."
"If there is a valid blood test, I'm sure baseball will consider it," MLB spokesman Rich Levin told USA Today.
Adding an HGH test to baseball's drug-testing program would be subject to collective bargaining with the Major League Baseball Players Association. Union executive director Donald Fehr declined comment, USA Today reported.
The NFL said it was not aware of the test, and NFL players union head Gene Upshaw said he is opposed to blood testing: "There's no way I'm having my guys punched for a blood test every time they walk into a locker room," he told the newspaper.
Baseball, which has been dealing with allegations of past performance-enhancing drug use for years, now finds itself facing current players being linked to HGH.
This month, reports linked St. Louis outfielder Rick Ankiel,
Toronto third baseman Troy Glaus and Baltimore outfielder Jay Gibbons to Signature Pharmacy. MLB has asked to meet with the three
players and has met with the Abany County (N.Y.) district attorney's office, which is conducting the probe, seeking its cooperation.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.