Alex Rodriguez faces extra drug tests this season after ban

By on March 27, 2015

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Alex Rodriguez appears to have passed his first test of the spring, hitting well enough to put himself in position to be the Yankees’ primary designated hitter.

But A-Rod faces many more tests this season. Drug tests, to be exact.

Rodriguez will be subjected to more testing this season than most other players, but before the staunch A-Rod defenders begin screaming about a witch hunt, it should be noted that the extra testing is simply protocol for Major League Baseball’s drug offenders.

Section 3.D of the league’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program specifies that any player disciplined for violating the drug program shall be subject to mandatory follow-up testing, including six unannounced urine collections and three unannounced blood collections over the 12-month period following the violation as well as each subsequent year of the player’s career as long as he’s on a 40-man roster.

“Let me be clear about this; he’ll be tested exactly like every other player who has violated the program,” commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday as he visited with both the Yankees and Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. “The program requires more frequent testing for players who are coming back after a suspension.”

A-Rod never tested positive for any illegal substances he obtained from Biogenesis but was slapped with a 211-game suspension in 2013 for what the league called “his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years,” as well as “attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation.” The suspension was later reduced to 162 games, the longest PED-related ban in baseball history.

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“I think he’s done a great job,” Steinbrenner said Thursday on WFAN. “He’s been positive, he’s been out here working hard, he’s playing well. . . . Our whole goal, as I told him when we met a month or so ago, he’s got to get through spring training healthy and then he’ll be able to contribute to the club.”

Steinbrenner added that there are “no wounds on my end” when it comes to his relationship with A-Rod.

“Anybody who knows me knows I don’t dwell on the past,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s unhealthy. Learn from it but don’t dwell on it. . . . We’re not worried about the future, the past. I’m worried about March.”

With that in mind, the owner dodged a question about the $ 6 million bonus the Yankees will owe Rodriguez if he hits six home runs this season to tie Willie Mays.

“I’m worried about another week and a half of spring training and then April 6 and then we’ll go from there,” Steinbrenner said. “It has not been settled. I told him in the meeting, We’re going to focus on the present.”

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alex rodriguez ,
rob manfred

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