Bonds' positive amphetamines test triggers scrutiny
Barry Bonds' positive amphetamines test last summer will cause him to undergo more than just increased testing for amphetamines.
He is now subject to six additional tests a year for all the performance-enhancing drugs on baseball's banned-substance list, according to a source familiar with Major League Baseball's new drug agreement.
When MLB announced that agreement last year, it disclosed only that positive amphetamine tests would result in "mandatory follow-up testing." But a person with knowledge of the agreement told ESPN.com that during bargaining, MLB's negotiators pressed for a stipulation that those follow-up tests would include not just amphetamines, but all forms of anabolic steroids on the banned-substance list, as well as all stimulants on the list.
So Bonds won't only be pursuing baseball's all-time home run record this season. He also is guaranteed to be among the league leaders in the Most Tested Man in Baseball competition.
Several sources said Bonds was not the only player to flunk an amphetamines test last year. But, as one baseball man put it, "you'd think this guy -- knowing the scrutiny he was under -- would never have taken that chance."
Meanwhile, a baseball attorney told ESPN.com he doesn't believe the Giants would have to include any special contract language to dock Bonds' pay in the event he were to test positive again for amphetamines and incur a 25-game suspension.
The two sides have been haggling over the Giants' attempt to insert language covering a variety of potential legal and disciplinary issues Bonds could face. However, the attorney said the standard guaranteed provisions in all major-league contracts likely would protect the Giants in the event Bonds was unable to "render his services" as the result of a suspension.
That standard language typically stipulates that a team does not have to pay a player's salary for any period of time in which the player is unable to play due to a suspension, or another penalty imposed by the club or the commissioner's office.
The standard language also would cover "intentional" use of any type of drug or substance prohibited by MLB. So the Giants would seem to be protected by both of those provisions, although the players' union almost certainly would fight any attempt by the club to dock "guaranteed" salary for any reason.
No matter how those standard clauses read, however, teams and players need to agree on whether that standard language, or other terms, apply in all contracts. So there is good reason negotiations over the language in Bonds' contract have dragged on for a month. That language, in his case, could be worth millions of dollars.
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.