Results of drug tests due this week

Updated: November 10, 2003, 10:18 PM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Results are expected in a few days from this year's drug-testing survey of players, baseball commissioner Bud Selig said Monday.

If more than 5 percent of those tests are positive for a banned performance-enhancing substance, then all players will be subject to possible random, unannounced testing, with penalties for those who fail.

Otherwise, another survey will be conducted.

"We'll have them in the next few days and they'll be announced shortly thereafter," said Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball's general counsel at the general managers' meeting.

Baseball has already added the designer steroid THG to the list of banned substances for next season.

The performance-enhancing drug automatically was included, under terms of the game's collective bargaining agreement, when the Food and Drug Administration declared it an illegal substance.

There will be no retesting of this year's urine samples for THG. Manfred said that the samples weren't preserved, and that the bargaining agreement doesn't allow retroactive testing for newly banned substances.

Selig said he had "no idea" whether the drug testing affected this year's performances in baseball.

THG was unknown by sports authorities until an anonymous track and field coach sent a syringe containing the drug to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which handles drug testing for track and field.

Meanwhile, sluggers Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi are among dozens of athletes subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury that, sources say, is investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, for possible involvement in distribution of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

"Look, these people have not been convicted of anything," Selig said. "They have merely been called there as witnesses. It is unfair to read any more into it than that right now."

He said the issue of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball remains an important one.

"Of course, I have a great sensitivity about all of this," Selig said. "I worry a lot about it. I worry about anything that affects not only the image of the game but the performance of it on the field, too. The San Francisco thing, we're just going to have to wait, and that's the only fair and decent thing to do."

Under the drug testing provisions agreed to in bargaining talks last year, all 1,200 major league players on the 40-man rosters were tested. Another 240 were selected at random for second tests.

"The theory was that everybody had to do it once," Manfred said. "But even after you went, we wanted you to have it in the back of your mind that we might be back to visit a second time. The idea being that you'd like to control behavior even during the survey part of the test."

In other matters, Selig said he hoped to have two teams open their seasons in Japan next year. Last season, Oakland and Seattle were supposed to begin their seasons in Japan, but the trip was called off for security reasons.

Selig also said he was disappointed and saddened by the United States' upset loss to Mexico in Olympic baseball qualifying. The loss means the defending gold medalist U.S. baseball team won't compete in the Athens Olympics.

The players on the team were selected from the minor leagues by a major league baseball committee.

"We need to review all of our procedures to see what we can do to do things better," Selig said.

Selig said the U.S. loss strengthens his belief that there should be a World Cup baseball competition. But forget about major league players participating in the Olympics.

"We're not going to be able to interrupt our season. This is a matter of pragmatism," he said. "I know that we'll do better in the future, but I also believe that what happened there (against Mexico) should increase the desire on all parties that we need a World Cup."

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press