Sunday, May 17, 2009

Baseball Body to Conduct Doping Test on Imports

By Yoon Chul
Staff Reporter

Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) will conduct doping tests on all import players for the first time this season.

According to KBO official director Jeong Keum-jo, the anti-doping committee, supported by Korea Anti Doping Agency (KADA) has decided to test all foreign players this season, in addition to its regular testing program. However, the committee has not yet determined the date or frequency of the tests.

The KBO began its testing program in 2007 by randomly selecting three players from each team for a urine test. The league followed that up with two rounds of random testing last season. In all, 72 players, including 10 import players, were tested, none of whom tested positive.

Hanwha Eagles manager Kim In-sik, who led Korea to the final in the second World Baseball Classic (WBC) earlier this year, was among many who called for the testing of all foreign players.

Kim made the call last month, explaining that some KBO players were among those named in the Mitchell Report ― a report on the use of illegal performance-enhancing substances in Major League Baseball (MLB) released in December, 2007 that named several offending players.

The KBO's decision comes after Yakult Swallows pitcher Daniel Rios received a one-year suspension from Nippon Professional Baseball after testing positive for the banned substance hydroxystanozorol last year.

As a member of the KBO's Doosan Bears in 2007, Rios was the league's top pitcher with a record of 22-5 and a 2.07 ERA, both league bests.

``After Rios tested positive in Japan, many baseball fans believed that we didn't test foreigners, but that's wrong.

``While Rios was playing in the KBO he didn't have a chance to take the doping test, because Rios wasn't named on the list of randomly selected players,'' added Jeong

Korean professional teams have been asking their import players to take tests upon signing a KBO contract, but they have all refused. Jeong added that in addition to testing for all import players, the league also plans to step up its random testing program as well.

``We are planning to conduct tests two or three times this year. As many hitters showed better performances, producing many more home runs, we are going to expand the number of examined players from three to at least five,''

The league didn't say whether full testing of foreign players would continue after this season.

The penalty for a first offense is a 10-game suspension. A player who tests positive will also be tested during each round of doping tests. A second positive test will result in an automatic 30-game suspension and a third offense will result in a lifetime ban.

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