NEW YORK -- On Wednesday, one day after Major League Baseball issued Jenrry Mejia a 162-game suspension for a positive test for performance-enhancing substances, Commissioner Rob Manfred painted the picture of a testing program that is effective yet constantly looking to improve.
"I think our game is cleaner than it's ever been," Manfred said after a previously scheduled visit with Mets' front-office employees at Citi Field. "I think our testing program is as good as it can possibly be given the available science. And I also am experienced enough in this area to know that nothing you do is perfect, and you have to be vigilant all the time to make sure your program is evolving and is as effective as possible."
Mejia received the 162-game ban after testing positive for two PEDs, three months after receiving an 80-game suspension for his first positive test.
"Our program, I think, is the best in professional sports," Manfred said. "We say that. [The World Anti-Doping Agency] says it. I think we do a lot of things right. Having said that, one of the things we do right is every offseason, we sit down with the [MLB Players' Association] and we make adjustments to the program to make sure that we're as up to date as we possibly can be. I can't say enough good things about how cooperative the MLBPA has been in that effort, and I'm sure after this season, we'll sit down and make some adjustments."
In the wake of Mejia's suspension, his teammates struggled to explain what motivates players to try to beat MLB's drug-testing program. Yet the league has seen enough of that sort of behavior, Manfred said, to assume things will not change.
"The way you need to think about performance-enhancing substances, certainly the way I think about them, is they will always be a significant temptation for players," Manfred said. "Because performance-enhancing substances can be effective. They can enhance your performance. It's a competitive environment, and people are tempted."