MLB drug tests drop sharply during coronavirus pandemic

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball’s number of drug tests dropped sharply during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

There were 3,733 urine samples and 412 blood samples for human growth hormone testing collected during the year ending with the World Series, independent program administrator Thomas M. Martin said in his annual report Tuesday. That was down from 9,332 urine samples and 2,287 blood samples in the year ending with the 2019 World Series.

“The lower testing numbers were a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the extended closure of the WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratory in Montreal,” Martin wrote.

Spring training was interrupted in mid-March and the start of the regular season was delayed from late March until late July. Each team’s schedule was cut from 162 games to 60.

There were 10 positive tests for performance-enhancing substances: two for Stanozolol (New York Mets second baseman Robinson Canó and free agent pitcher Victor Alcántara), five for Boldenone (Houston pitcher Francis Martes, Pittsburgh utilityman Pablo Reyes, Arizona infielder Domingo Leyba, Cleveland pitcher Emmanuel Clase and Pittsburgh pitcher Edgar Santana) and three for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHCMT) (Colorado pitcher Justin Lawrence, Washington catcher Tres Barrera and Houston pitcher Kent Emanuel).

Ninety-one therapeutic use exemptions were granted, 90 for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and one for Hypersomnia. That was down from 94 for the previous year, which included 90 for ADHD and one each for Hypersomnia, Hypogonadism and kidney disease.

Exemptions for hyperactivity disorder had ranged from 105-119 annually from 2008-16, prompting some to criticize their issuance as too lenient.

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