Fehr says blood testing a consideration

The Baltimore Sun

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- If a reliable and consistent blood test for detecting human growth hormone is created, the Major League Baseball Players Association will consider adopting it, according to union chief Donald Fehr.

"If and when a blood test is available and it can be scientifically validated - and that means validated by people other than those that are trying to sell it to you - then we'd have to take a hard look at it," said Fehr, who met with the Orioles yesterday in the first of his annual spring stops throughout Florida and Arizona.

"We'd have to see what it is and try to make a judgment as to whether it's fair, it's appropriate and whether it helped."

In the past, the union has bristled at the notion of its members undergoing blood tests because of the invasive nature of the process and the uncertainty of its accuracy. Only urine tests are part of the sport's drug-testing policy.

However, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, among others, recently said he wouldn't oppose blood testing.

"I haven't talked to Derek about it, but my guess is ... that he's saying that if something is there, it works and it wouldn't be too bothersome, I'd think about it," Fehr said. "I think a lot of people would. But that depends on what it is and how it's done."

Fehr, who attended Wednesday's House subcommittee hearing on drug-testing in sports along with the union chiefs and commissioners from the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB, said he believes hGH and performance-enhancing drugs are a societal issue.

"Recent evidence has suggested that these things are very widespread and they don't have much to do with sports," Fehr said. "That's not to minimize the problems that sports have had, but they don't have very much to do with sports. To the extent that Congress is going to consider what to do about it, I think they at least have to pay attention to those kinds of issues."

With labor peace guaranteed for the next several years, and the specter of the Mitchell Report at least somewhat in the rearview mirror, Fehr said one of the most pressing issues facing baseball is globalization.

"I'd like, one day hopefully, for baseball to have the same international regard as some of the other sports do," he said.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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