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Volume 26 No. 207
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MLB, MLBPA To Talk Changes To Drug Policy After Skaggs Autopsy

Skaggs' death in July could change how the league tests for "drugs of abuse"
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Skaggs' death in July could change how the league tests for "drugs of abuse"
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Skaggs' death in July could change how the league tests for "drugs of abuse"
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

MLB and its players' union "expect to discuss changes to the sport's drug program" after an autopsy report revealed that Angels P Tyler Skaggs had oxycodone, fentanyl and alcohol in his system when he was found dead on July 1, according to Jared Diamond of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. MLB players under the current agreement "aren't tested for what are known as drugs of abuse" unless there is "reasonable cause to do so" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/6). ESPN.com's Jeff Passan wrote MLB and the MLBPA have had "initial conversations about randomly testing players for opioids." Sources said that while the discussions are in "preliminary stages, both sides expect them to ramp up in the coming weeks and progress in the offseason." Though "contention on economic issues has sullied the MLB-MLBPA relationship in recent years, they have found common ground on drug-related issues, particularly with performance enhancers." Sources said that league officials have "discussed a number of options in exchange for adding opioids to random testing, including the possibility of removing all testing for marijuana" (ESPN.com, 9/7).

TAKING IT SLOW: MLB and the MLBPA recently had their third meeting to discuss the CBA, which is set to expire Dec. 1, 2021, and THE ATHLETIC's Evan Drellich noted "pessimism has generally been easy to detect on both sides." The tone "remains contentious, but there seems an acceptance now, a little better grounding in reality that they've always been far apart and weren't going to bridge the gap quickly." The matter to "watch, then, is how much closer they can get together with the advantage of time, not whether they can quickly get across any sort of finish line." The meetings have "mostly stuck to the big picture so far, with presentations, in an effort to find common ground." The sides "plan to meet again at least a couple more times." The meetings so far have "come roughly once a month" (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/6).