Baseball officials have agreed to move their minor league drug-testing program to the UCLA laboratory that conducts tests for the NFL and numerous amateur sports, a major league executive said Monday.
The UCLA lab, born out of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, is the only facility in the United States certified by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Baseball officials are expected to announce an agreement as soon as this week to move the major league testing program to another Olympic-accredited laboratory in Montreal.
Rob Manfred, executive vice president of Major League Baseball, said the decision to move the minor league testing from a private laboratory to one widely used in the fight against drugs in sports reflected baseball's efforts to combat steroid use.
"Using a WADA-certified laboratory is an important component," Manfred said.
Manfred declined to comment on the expected agreement to move the major league testing from a private laboratory. Such an agreement requires approval from the players' union.
The use of Olympic-certified laboratories does not subject baseball players to Olympic policies and punishments for steroid use. Under Olympic guidelines, first offenders are suspended from international competition for two years.
Under the major league policy, first offenders are subject to counseling but are not fined, suspended or publicly identified. Under the minor league policy, first offenders are named and subject to a fine and/or 15-day suspension.
Dr. Don Catlin, director of the UCLA lab, did not return a call for comment.