The 15-day suspension for Royals outfielder José Guillen was rescinded Friday afternoon by baseball commissioner Bud Selig as a concession to union officials for agreeing to fortified drug-testing program.
Guillen was suspended Dec. 6 for unspecified violations in the previous policy. His ban was scheduled to take effect at the start of the season but enforcement was delayed twice while the industry negotiated a tougher new program.
Selig granted amnesty to all 86 players, including Guillen, cited in the Mitchell Report, an extensive study headed by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell that examined the use of performance-enhancing drugs within the sport.
“It is time to move the game forward,” Selig said. “There is little to be gained at this point in debating dated misconduct and enduring numerous disciplinary proceedings.”
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The union agreed that players, including those cited in the report, will participate in community service activities designed to educate youth and their parents to the dangers of performance-enhancing substances.
The union will also make a $200,000 contribution to an anti-drug charitable or research organization.
The Royals knew Guillen, 31, might be subject to suspension when they signed him in December to a three-year contract for $36 million. Guillen is off to a slow start this season; he entered Friday’s game against the Twins with just six hits in 37 at-bats.
Selig also retained the right to discipline any player covered by the amnesty if they are subsequently linked to the sale or distribution of banned substances or for criminal convictions unrelated to the use of drugs.
The new policy includes six major aspects: Increased independence. An independent program administrator (IPA) will be appointed for a multi-year term and can only be removed for narrow and specific reasons. Increased transparency. The IPA will annually and publicly report key statistics related to the program and record-retention requirements will be lengthened. Testing. There will be 600 additional tests conducted each year. The number of off-season tests, on average, will double. Flexibility. The agreement institutionalizes an annual review process to allow parties to respond to new developments. Education. The IPA, in consultation with the parties, will develop an annual mandatory education program for players. Amateur draft. The testing program will now include top prospects.