PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Baseball union head Michael Weiner says reporters should refrain from jumping to conclusions about media reports linking players to a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Starting his annual tour of the 30 spring training camps, Weiner cautioned that Major League Baseball is still investigating Biogenesis of America, a defunct anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla.
The players understand that what's happening in Miami at this point remains to be seen in terms of fairness and judging things on the evidence, Weiner said Thursday. But there is a lot of talk in the clubhouse about where we should be on the joint drug program, and that's a good thing.
After his one-hour session with the Mets, Weiner also discussed the agreement with management last month to extend blood testing for human growth hormone into the regular season. HGH testing began last year but was limited to spring training.
As part of the changes to the joint drug agreement, the World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Laval, Quebec, will keep records of each player, including his baseline ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone.
They understand the blood testing is only postgame, so nobody can have their blood drawn pregame, and they also understand there are protections there in case there's a health-related or a weather/heat related reason why they can't give blood, Weiner said. Players understand it's important to have the strongest program possible, and given both the testosterone changes and the HGH changes, they're very much for it.
Weiner succeeded Donald Fehr as union head in 2009, and this tour is his first of spring training since announcing in August he is being treated for a brain tumor. The 51-year-old appeared thin and never specifically addressed his health or how he was feeling. He spent time in the Mets clubhouse before the meeting chatting and laughing with players, including third baseman David Wright and pitcher Johan Santana.
Part of Weiner's talk with media was a discussion of changes to draft-pick compensation for free agents under the new labor contract. Teams made $13.3 million qualifying offers last November to nine free agents — teams signing those players would lose a top selection in this June's amateur draft.
The Mets were hesitant to negotiate with outfielder Michael Bourn because they didn't want to lose the 11th overall pick. Bourn agreed to a $48 million, four-year deal with Cleveland.