MLB notes: Bud Selig proposes stiffer penalties for doping
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Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig wants tougher penalties for major league players who violate the sport's drug agreement.

Players' association head Michael Weiner said the union is willing to discuss changes, but only ones that would start in 2014.

Speaking at a news conference Saturday in Scottsdale, Ariz., Selig said the situation surrounding last year's positive drug test of All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera and allegations players received banned substances from a now-closed Florida anti-aging clinic helped lead him to seek stiffening of penalties as quickly as possible.

He didn't give any specifics of what he had in mind, saying MLB Executive Vice President Rob Manfred and Weiner will meet. Selig said he wants increased penalties "as expeditiously as possible."

The current structure has been in place since 2006: 50 games for an initial steroids infraction, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third. No player has reached the third level.

Weiner said Monday that some players have expressed support for tougher penalties. Selig said he was encouraged by Weiner's comments.

"The players have been discussing whether changes in the penalties are warranted since the offseason," Weiner said during a telephone interview Saturday. "As I've said throughout spring training, there's a variety of player views on this subject. In fact, during the offseason we suggested to the commissioner's office the possibility of differential penalties namely advanced penalties for certain intentional violations but reduced penalties for negligent violations.

"That format was not of interest to MLB at that time. We look forward to ongoing negotiations over the drug program, but any change in the penalties would be a 2014 issue. It would be unfair to change the drug-testing rules now that the 2013 program has begun to be implemented."

MLB and the union started urine testing with an anonymous survey in 2003 and added penalties in 2004, when a first offense resulted in counseling. A 10-day suspension for a first offense was added for 2005 and the current discipline structure has been in place since the 2006: 50 games for an initial steroids infraction,100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third. No player has reached the third level.

The initial penalty for a stimulants offense is counseling, with a 25-game penalty for a second violation.

Twelve players were given 10-day suspensions in 2005. Thirty suspensions have been announced from 2006 on, including just two 100-game bans — to pitcher Guillermo Mota and catcher Eliezer Alfonzo. The penalty for Alfonzo was cut to 48 games because of procedural issues similar to the ones that led an arbitrator last year to overturn Ryan Braun's positive drug test before a suspension was announced.

Positive tests increased to eight last year, when Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal all tested positive for testosterone.

"We've made meaningful adjustments to our testing and the time has come to make meaningful adjustments to our penalties," Selig said.

Selig announced after a January owners' meeting that management and the union agreed players will be subject to blood testing for human growth hormone during the regular season and that the World Anti-Doping Agency laboratory in Laval, Quebec, will keep records of each player, including his baseline ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. The lab will conduct Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) tests of any urine specimens that "vary materially."

With spring training blood sampling that started in 2012, MLB became the first major sports league in North America to test for HGH.

"There is no question that there have been enough events that say to me the program is good but apparently the penalties haven't deterred some people," Selig said.

He said that those who have flaunted the anti-drug rules are "a very small percentage" of players.

"A great majority really, really have been terrific," Selig said, "and I give the players association a lot of credit. We had lots of problems two decades ago, 10 years ago, but I'm confident that Michael and Rob will sit down because I feel very strongly about this."

Cabrera, who was leading the NL in hitting and was the All-Star MVP while playing for San Francisco, was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone. He signed a two-year, $16 million contract with Toronto in the offseason.

Selig would not comment on the now defunct Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., other than to say it is the subject of a "very thorough investigation" by MLB.

The facility was alleged in media reports to have provided performance-enhancing substances to several players, including Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez and Nelson Cruz. The players have denied they got banned drugs from the clinic.

Trout disappointed

The Los Angeles Angels renewed the contract of AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout for $510,000, prompting an angry response from the outfielder's agent. Craig Landis said his client was disappointed with the decision announced Saturday. The salary is $20,000 above the major league minimum.

Trout has 1 year, 70 days of major league service and is likely to be eligible for arbitration after the 2014 season and for free agency after the 2017 World Series. Teams can renew the contracts of unsigned players on their 40-man rosters from March 2-11.

"During the process, on behalf of Mike, I asked only that the Angels compensate Mike fairly for his historic 2012 season, given his service time," Landis said in a statement. "In my opinion, this contract falls well short of a 'fair' contract and I have voiced this to the Angels throughout the process. Nonetheless, the renewal of Mike's contract will put an end (to) this discussion."

Trout has 1 year, 70 days of major league service and is likely to be eligible for arbitration after the 2014 season and for free agency after the 2017 World Series. Teams can renew the contracts of unsigned players on their 40-man rosters from March 2-11.

"Mike, himself, does not wish to comment on this matter," Landis said. "As when he learned he would not be the team's primary center fielder for the upcoming season, Mike will put the disappointment behind him and focus on helping the Angels reach their goal of winning the 2013 World Series."

Speedy Peter Bourjos is set to be the Angels' primary center fielder, flanked by Trout in left and 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton in right.

Trout had a $482,500 salary last year, when he finished second to Detroit's Miguel Cabrera in AL MVP voting. Trout hit .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBIs, and led the majors with 129 runs and 49 steals.

He also earned a $10,000 bonus for winning Rookie of the Year.

Los Angeles also agreed to one-year deals with 21 players, including Bourjos and Mark Trumbo.

Ramirez strains knee

PHOENIX • Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez has left a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels with a strained left knee.

Ramirez snapped an 0-for-10 skid to start the spring with a bloop double down the left-field line in the third inning Saturday.

After time was called, Ramirez stepped off the bag and was met by the team trainer before walking slowly back to the dugout. He will be re-evaluated on Sunday and is day to day.

It was Milwaukee's third significant piece of injury news Saturday. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo was scratched from his scheduled start Sunday with tightness in his groin, and left fielder Ryan Braun was out of the lineup with a bruised left knee.

Lincecum sidelined

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. • San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum was scratched from a start against the Chicago Cubs because of a blister on his right middle finger.

Lincecum allowed three runs and four hits in an inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday during his first spring-training start this year.

Yusmeiro Petit took his place Saturday. He had appeared in one exhibition game, throwing two scoreless innings.

Lincecum said he didn't think the injury was serious and said he planned to still play catch.

A two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, Lincecum went 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA last year and was shifted to the bullpen in the postseason.