Rogers 'skeptical' changes will be made

Updated: March 2, 2004, 1:44 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

On Monday, Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers added his voice to the cacophony of criticism ushering in baseball's new steroid policy that calls for random testing beginning Tuesday.

Kenny Rogers
Rogers

"I don't think anything is going to change," he told The Dallas Morning News for Tuesday's editions. "Nothing. You'd have to be a complete moron to get suspended. And if you get suspended, the first time, it's really not much more than a few extra tee times."

Rogers joins a roster of major league veterans, including John Smoltz, Todd Zeile and Turk Wendell, who have been critical of both steroid use by players and the new testing policy and potential penalties.

According to the collective bargaining agreement, a player who tested positive for steroids would not face penalty until his second offense, when he would be fined and suspended. This first suspension, stipulated in the agreement, would be 15 days. A player would have to test positive five times to face a yearlong suspension from baseball.

"Maybe sooner or later, we'll get it fixed, but I'm skeptical," Rogers told the Morning News. "The testing is way behind other sports. No matter what I say, it's not going to change things. I hope we fix the situation, but, as of right now, we haven't fixed anything. It's like a free pass this year."

When asked, the 39-year-old right-hander would not level specific charges at big leaguers using the performance enhancing drugs. Rogers declined comment when asked if he had firsthand knowledge of any players who had used steroids.

During the Rangers' annual meeting with representatives from the MLB Players Association on Saturday, the steroid topic was the hottest issue, according to the Morning News. Pitcher Glendon Rusch told the newspaper that Rogers had more questions about the policy and how it would be enforced than anyone in the clubhouse.

Player representative and Rangers reliever Jeff Zimmerman told the paper that he is aware of Rogers' dismay about the testing policy but added that the players should honor what was bargained for in 2001.

"I have to accept and respect the Players Association's position," Zimmerman told the Morning News. "There have been some people who have very strong personal opinions about it, but I think we have to put aside personal opinion and understand it in the context of the collective bargaining agreement.

"Like it or not, we all agreed to it," Zimmerman said, "I think we should stand by what we bargained. It's just like a contract."

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