Longer Drug Suspensions To Be Enacted

Longer suspensions for players who test positive for steroid use will be in place for the 2014 season.

As The Associated Press first reported earlier in the week, Major League Baseball and the players union agreed on the new joint drug agreement to increase penalties for muscle-building steroids to 80 games for a first positive test and a season-long ban for a second.

Players can appeal for a shorter suspension for positive tests that were caused by unintentional use of a banned, non-muscle-building substance.

Since the start of the 2006 season, the joint drug agreement has called for a 50-game suspension for a first positive steroids test, a 100-game ban for a second and a lifetime penalty for a third.

Players union chief Tony Clark said stricter penalties were needed.

“I had an opportunity to play the first part of my career without drug testing, and the second half with it,” Clark said in a statement. “As a result of that drug world changing, there are certain considerations we need to make in an effort to put guys in a position where the ones who are doing it correctly aren’t being put in an adverse position.

ESPN analyst and former major league John Kruk applauded the plan for a longer ban.

“I love it,” Kruk said during a conference call for the network’s Sunday Night baseball package. “I think there should be stricter penalties. I never thought 50 (games) was enough. You hear guys say, ‘I didn’t know it was a supplement.’ That’s ridiculous. It’s time to get stiffer penalties. When you start taking money away, that’s what players get serious about.”

Players will also be required to submit to two urine samples during the season, an increase from 1,400 to 3,200 overall.

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