Kent says he advocates blood tests for players

Updated: January 12, 2008, 10:05 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent told The Los Angeles Times on Thursday that Major League Baseball players should undergo blood testing to detect whether they are using banned substances, particularly human growth hormone.

Jeff Kent

Why not have blood tests? If ultimately you want a clean game, then it needs to happen.

-- Jeff Kent

"I'd like to see every player take a blood test and have the samples frozen," Kent told The Times. "Not everyone in the game is using HGH, but I would bet it still is being abused.

"Why not have blood tests? If ultimately you want a clean game, then it needs to happen.

"They ought to be testing for drugs in the playoffs, too. They [MLB] never do that."

However, a Major League Baseball official told ESPN.com that baseball in fact does test for drugs in the playoffs.

"We randomly test players year round, including the postseason," MLB vice president for public relations Pat Courtney said.

Kent, praised in the Mitchell report for telling reporters in September that "Major League Baseball is trying to investigate the past so they can fix the future," is among the first players to suggest using blood tests. The Major League Baseball Players Association has been against it, citing unreliability.

In September, USA Today reported that MLB was eyeing the development of a mass-use blood test for HGH and would push to have it implemented for the 2008 season if a reliable test was available.

"If there is a valid blood test, I'm sure baseball will consider it," MLB spokesman Rich Levin told USA Today in September. Adding a blood test would be subject to collective bargaining between MLB and the players' union.

In addition to HGH, among the drugs also listed in the Mitchell report include Winstrol (or Stanozolol), which is technically classified as an anabolic steroid, and Deca Durabolin, a steroid that has proven to be an excellent product for promoting size and providing strength gains.

Mitchell's report, released Dec. 14, linked 86 players in differing degrees to illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. Seven MVPs and 31 All-Stars were mentioned; Roger Clemens was the most prominent player listed among the 409-page report. Clemens has denied the allegations, which were made by former trainer Brian McNamee. Several others named, including Andy Pettitte, have admitted using steroids and HGH.

"I hope people don't think these are the only players doing steroids in the game," Kent told The Times. "These players were only the ones Mitchell had good evidence against. The Mitchell report is probably just 1 percent of those who have cheated in the game. It gives a very small sampling of what was going on.

"Now we're hearing about some guys who cheat and the phony excuses like 'I got hurt, so I just used HGH one time.' Whether they are telling the truth or not, people are finally having to answer to some things."