According to the New York Times, Major League Baseball will institute blood testing for human growth hormone in the minor leagues as early as this year. MLB will also attempt to get the players union to accept blood testing at the Major League level.
MLB issued a statement in response to the Times’ questions which included the following:
"We are consulting with our experts concerning immediate steps for our minor league drug program and next steps for our major league drug program. The commissioner remains committed to the position that we must act aggressively to deal with the issue of HGH."
Most minor league players are not part of the players union and therefore no negotiation is required to implement such a program. The MLB Players Association has resisted the idea of blood testing in the past, but will feel pressure from the league, the public, and possibly some of its own constituents. A concession in blood testing may also provide some leverage while negotiating the next collective bargaining agreement.
MLB has been providing funding for the WADA to develop a urine test for HGH, but the test remains possibly years away. At congressional hearing in 2008, Commissioner Bud Selig said MLB would support an HGH test when it became available.
"When a valid, commercially available and practical test for H.G.H. becomes reality — regardless of whether the test is based on blood or urine — baseball will support the utilization of that test. "
Shortly thereafter, then union leader, Donald Fehr, expressed a willingness to consider a test for HGH if it was viable and accurate.
""If and when a blood test is available and it can be signed and 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."
While most are hailing the positive test in the UK as proof the test is effective, anti-doping expert Charles Yesalis told the Times he is not convinced.
"They have this test for some time and they only caught one guy. I wouldn’t bet my life on that test."