New York Yankees’ relief pitcher Sergio Mitre has been suspended for 50 games for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Like JC Romero, Mitre used an over the counter supplement purchased at a major retailer and tested positive for Androstenedione, the steroid precursor made famous by Mark McGwire in 1998 and later banned by MLB. The supplement was said to have contained a “contaminant” amount of Andro even though it was not listed as an ingredient.
Mitre accepted responsibility despite the circumstances.
"Although being suspended for 50 games is tough to accept, I think that it is important to understand that I am in full support of drug testing in baseball… I did take the supplement in question and accept full responsibility for taking it. What has been difficult for me to understand is that I legally purchased this supplement at GNC and had no intention nor desire to cheat or to circumvent the system in any way. "
The cases of Mitre and Romero have raised issues about the current drug testing program. As part of the Romero story it was learned that the MLBPA had told the players in spring training that any supplement purchased over the counter in the US from a place like GNC would be safe to take. General Counsel to Major League baseball Players’ Association, Michael Weiner, thought the policy needed to be changed.
"The union respects the arbitration process and treats the decision as final," Weiner said. "In our view, though, the resulting discipline imposed upon Mitre and Romero is unfair. These players should not be suspended. Their unknowing actions plainly are distinguishable from those of a person who intentionally used an illegal performance-enhancing substance."
"The Association and the Commissioner's Office must now act to prevent future similar occurrences within baseball. The Association remains committed to a strong Joint Drug Program, but will continue to advocate forcefully for fair treatment of our members."