BOSTON (CBS) — MLB’s problem with performance-enhancing drugs is far from over, but multiple members of the Red Sox have been outspoken in their fight to get PEDs out of the game.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported this week that the Red Sox contacted the players union after winning the World Series last year to complain about Jhonny Peralta playing in the ALCS after serving a 50-game suspension for PED use.
Peralta drove in the lone run in a 1-0 Tigers win at Fenway Park in Game 1 of the ALCS, and he batted .286 while starting all six games of the series for Detroit.
David Ross, Jonny Gomes and Jake Peavy were among the most outspoken Red Sox to pipe up, and they spoke to Rosenthal about the issue.
“It still makes guys mad,” Ross told Rosenthal on Thursday, noting that Nelson Cruz — who also served a 50-game PED suspension last year — hit a homer to beat the Sox on opening day this season. “You just have that sense of getting beat by a cheater. It hurts a little more than normally when you would just give a guy credit for doing something good. That’s on them, too. That’s something they’ll carry the rest of their playing career, and probably the rest of their lives.”
Partly because of the Red Sox’ complaints, MLB adopted a new drug agreement which bans players from playing in the postseason after a season in which they were suspended for PEDs. The new agreement also upped the length of a first-time drug offender from 50 to 80 games, and a second-time offender from 100 to 162.
Tony Clark, the union chief, told Rosenthal that “a significant number” of people from the Red Sox organization reached out about the topic.
“Every time he got a hit, you were just mad,” Ross said of Peralta. “It wasn’t like something we dwelled upon. But there were remarks made here and there. It’s only natural to not like a guy you feel like is cheating, is on a different level than you are, whether he still is or not.”
Of course, David Ortiz was reported to be on a list of PED users from 2003, from a testing period that was intended to gauge how many PED users were in MLB. The list was supposed to remain anonymous but the names of Ortiz and Manny Ramirez nevertheless leaked in July 2009.
Ortiz did not admit to steroid use, instead claiming his use of supplements caused the false test.
Ortiz has not failed any tests since testing began in MLB, and he hast not been otherwise linked to any use of PEDs.
Ross said that if one of his teammates were exposed as a PED user, he’d think of it differently, like a family member. But Peavy had much different sentiments.
“If any guy is knowingly cheating the game of baseball, I don’t care if they’re on your team or not,” Peavy said. “If you’re knowingly putting a substance in your body that is illegal in your game, you’re not being a good teammate. … If there is a guy in here putting stuff in his body that is illegal, the majority in this room, I would say, is going to have a problem with that. I know I’m going to have a problem with it. I have a problem with anyone in the game doing it. I know the way the majority of us feel and the way we’re going about our business. It’s not acceptable anymore.”
Say what you will about PED use in baseball, but several Red Sox are at least doing what they can to help eliminate the problem.
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