The timing could not have been any more perfect.
On the heels of the Baseball Hall of Fame announcement that no one received the necessary 75 percent of the votes for induction, a residual of a number of players on the ballot being linked to performance enhancing drugs, Major League Baseball owners and the Players Association have agreed to expand the in-season drug testing to included human growth hormones.
Major League Baseball will become the first American sport to test for HGH during the season.
A World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory from Montreal will conduct the random tests for HGH, a substance which is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States as a treatment for sport injuries and is banned by most professional sports leagues.
A positive test for HGH falls into Major League Baseball’s current PED policy where a first violation gets a 50 game ban, the second is 100 games and a third positive will result in a lifetime suspension.
"This agreement addresses critical drug issues and symbolizes Major League Baseball's continued vigilance against synthetic human growth hormone, testosterone and other performance-enhancing substances," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement.
Testing for HGH has been performed in the minor leagues since 2010 and on the major league level only during spring training, the off-season and for what is deemed to be reasonable cause. A member of the Rockies top affiliate in Colorado Springs became the first player in North American professional sports to be suspended for using HGH on Aug. 18, 2011 and was suspended 50 games.
The Baseball Hall of Fame ballot had first time eligible players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa who were tied to steroids and other banned substances during their careers and none were even close to the required 75 percent for induction, all falling below 40 percent. However, the number of votes cast for them may have kept more deserving players like Craig Biggio, Jack Morris and others from entering the Cooperstown shrine.
Despite the strongest testing policies and penalties, a number of big leaguers have been suspended in recent time; the most notable are outfielder Melky Cabrera and pitcher Bartolo Colon.