Baseball announced the suspension of five minor league pitchers Friday for the use of performance-enhancing drugs and a pair of 17-year old, right-handed Dominican minor league pitchers on the Marlins Dominican Summer League team were among them.
According to an email from the commissioner's office, Yeims Mendoza and Andy Parra will each serve 50-game suspensions for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Mendoza, 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA in seven appearances, tested positive for a metabolite of Boldenone and metabolites of Nandrolone, while Parra (0-0 with a 4.26 ERA in four appearances including one start) tested positive for metabolites of Nandrolone.
On Thursday, commissioner Bud Selig implemented random blood testing for human growth hormone in the minor leagues, making baseball the first professional sports league in the United States to take the aggressive step against doping. The feeling in the Marlins clubhouse is split on whether or not it will ever make it to the big leagues.
"Eventually, I think it will," said third baseman Wes Helms, the player-rep to the union for the Marlins. "I know they are going to try to get testing as strong as possible and the only way to get it as strong as possible is to test for that.
"You want the fans out there knowing the guys putting up the big numbers are doing it clean. The only way to do that is to have a 100-percent, fool-proof test and to test for everything."
But not everyone in the clubhouse necessarily likes the way HGH testing is performed. Catcher John Baker said he thinks have blood drawn is intrusive. He prefers urine tests.
"I think you're going to have trouble convincing guys to give blood before they go out and compete before a game. I think it's something that will be talked about and discussed and debated. Is it good enough for the greater good to have somebody take blood out of my body before I play baseball."
"Honestly, I feel bad for the guys in the minor leagues because they've always been used as guinea pigs. They have no union and sometimes it feels like they have no rights. Sometimes you're tested for things in the minor leagues, you don't get tested for in the big leagues. Great example: Tobacco. How many people does tobacco kill a year? 450,000. We can use tobacco on the field in major league baseball. It's frowned upon, but nobody calls you on it. In the minor leagues, it's a $1,000 fine if you get caught using dip. It's another instance we have a lot more rights. I don't see the union using invasive testing, especially if it isn't accurate."
Manager Edwin Rodriguez, who has spent the last eight years in the Marlins farm system, said he's all for testing at the major league level. "Like it or not, I think baseball players are role models and we have to make sure to send the right message to the people out there," Rodriguez said."