Tulsa Drillers executive discusses minor league baseball PED use, testing following MLB suspension

TULSA - Coming out of the all-star break, the talk around Major League Baseball has focused on the suspension of one of its former MVPs.

Ryan Braun, a perennial all-star and Silver Slugger, was suspended without pay Monday for the remainder of the season for his connection to the Biogenesis investigation. The 65-game suspension will cost the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder more than $3 million.

Other all-star caliber and well-known players have also been linked to Biogenesis, including Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz.

But it was the minor leagues, not the majors, that piloted baseball's testing of performance-enhancing drugs in 2001.

Tulsa Drillers public relations director Brian Carroll says baseball has been a leader in testing for PEDs, but says that as long as big money can be made in the sport, it's going to be difficult to completely wipe out PED use.

"I think as long as you have the money that's available to be made as players who perform at a high level, it's probably always going to be there. But I think Major League Baseball has kind of been at the forefront as far as doing testing," he said.

Inside the Drillers clubhouse, a copy of MLB's testing policy is taped to the wall.

Because the Drillers are affiliated with the Colorado Rockies, the players, Carroll explained, are employees of the Rockies. As such, it's up to the Rockies to educate Drillers players about PED use and which substances, including some over-the-counter supplements, cannot be ingested.

Testing is performed randomly, Carroll said.

Typically, a company hired by Major League Baseball, will arrive at ONEOK Field during a home stand and collect samples from players of both the Drillers and the visiting team. This is done a number of times throughout the season.

Like Major League Baseball, a first offense results in a 50-game suspension. A second offense results in a 100-game suspension. A third offense can result in a lifetime ban from the game.

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