During season play (beginning with Spring Training through the end of the Regular Season), all players will be randomly selected for testing at unannounced times for steroids once. The office of the Commissioner has the right during the season to administer additional random testing at unannounced times for steroids. The number of tests and the timing and schedule of these tests is determined by the Health Policy Advisory Committee, and players are subject to any number of additional tests during the regular season.
According to Jose Bautista, as quoted through translation in the Dominican newspaper Hoy (clean syringe pass to HardBall Talk for the link), he’s been tested for performance enhancing drugs on sixteen different occasions in the last two years compared to only three times in the two years before that.
Bautista expressed the same type of frustration with those accusing the slugger of cheating the system when he spoke with Jim Bowden this past summer and spoke of the fifteen times he’d been tested.
And even before that, we’ve heard from Bautista about the amount of random testing that the entire team has gone through.
Not everybody on the team gets picked every single time that they test, but our team has gotten tested once a week for the last four weeks, and I’ve gotten tested twice in that span. I know what kind of person I am and how I achieve things, so I have no problem answering these questions. If playing good baseball and playing good and hitting a lot of home runs and being successful leads to people asking these questions, I have no problem answering them, because I know I haven’t done anything wrong.
Of course, this isn’t likely to be brought up very much during the regular season if, say, Bautista has a similar start to the year that had in 2011, but it would be nice if it was.
After all, maybe before we begin burning the reputations of baseball players right after they find a measure of success, we might stop to consider things such as actual evidence that’s not based merely on their improved performance.
I’m not so naive as to think that competitors in a highly competitive field aren’t going to seek out every advantage possible to triumph over their competition, but I’m also not naive enough to trust my limited understanding of what gives them that advantage to the point of vocalizing or writing out accusations. If anything, the very non-randomized drug testing by MLB acts tells us that there’s more evidence of Bautista not using performance enhancing drugs than using.