MLB releases report on drug-test frequency

MLB releases report on drug-test frequency

A report required from the independent administrator who oversees Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Program revealed on Friday that a total of 10,955 unannounced drug tests were administered to Major League players on the 40-man rosters of each club and analyzed from 2008-10.

That number includes 10,634 administered during the season and 321 during the offseason. Under the auspices of the program collectively bargained between MLB and the Players Association, tests are administered on the Major League level to detect a host of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), stimulants and other banned substances.

The survey is an outgrowth of one of the recommendations made by Sen. George Mitchell in his 2007 report about PED use in baseball to give more transparency to the system of checks and balances, regarding ongoing testing of players. Dr. Bryan W. Smith, who is in charge of administering the program, is required to submit the report and remain completely independent of MLB and the union.

The figure of 10,955 drug tests breaks down as follows:

2008: 3,486 -- 3,424 in-season, 62 offseason.

2009: 3,722 -- 3,601 in-season, 121 offseason.

2010: 3,747 -- 3,609 in-season, 138 offseason.

Smith releases another report at the end of each season itemizing how many players tested positive. Thus far this year, only one player on a 40-man roster has reportedly tested positive: Manny Ramirez of the Rays. Ramirez elected to retire on April 8 rather than face possible punishment for a second time under MLB's drug policy. He tested positive for a banned substance in May 2009 and was suspended 50 games.

Under the terms of the drug agreement, which has been opened and renegotiated several times since its implementation in 2003, a player is not suspended for the first-time use of a stimulant. Instead, he goes into an administrative tract and his name is kept private. Upon a second positive test, he's suspended for 25 games and the information is released.

As far as PEDs are concerned, a player is suspended 50 games for the first positive test, 100 for the second and after a third is banned for life with the possibility of reinstatement a year later.

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.