FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Players' union leader Donald Fehr would consider approving blood testing for the human growth hormone if there was a valid, efficient procedure for determining its use over an extended period.
Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, urine tests for performance-enhancing substances are administered, although HGH cannot be detected in current urine tests. The World Anti-Doping Agency says a blood test for HGH will be used at the Olympics, but no validated blood test for HGH currently is commercially available.
"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," Fehr said Thursday. "We'd have to see what it is and try to make a judgment as to whether it is fair and appropriate."
Such a test would have to be agreed upon in discussions between owners and the union.
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said this month he "wouldn't mind" a blood test for HGH, and several of his teammates echoed that stance.
"I haven't talked to Derek about it, but my guess is if something is there, it works and it wouldn't be too bothersome, I'd think about it," Fehr said. "I guess a lot of people would. But that depends on what it is and how it's done."
Fehr made the comments after meeting with the Baltimore Orioles, his first step in a planned journey to discuss union issues with all 30 major league teams. Twenty-four hours earlier, Fehr was in Washington in front of a House subcommittee seeking to legislate drug-testing policies for U.S. leagues.
"It was a straightforward hearing. They had some things they wanted to ask," Fehr said.
Asked to assess the public's perception of the sport in the wake of accusations that superstars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens used performance enhancing drugs, Fehr said, "If one of our friends does something terrible, we don't assume that the rest of our friends are going to do that. Having said that, we have some fundamental principles in this country, and one of those is innocent until proven guilty. We've got to remember that, and we've got to pay attention to that."