MIAMI (AP) — Players who test positive for opioids would enter treatment and not be suspended under the change to Major League Baseball’s drug agreement being negotiated by management and the players’ association, according to union head Tony Clark.
Talks to add testing for opioids began following the death this year of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Players have been tested for performance-enhancing substances since 2004 and for banned stimulants since 2006.
“We believe wholeheartedly, as we always have, that the treatment option and not discipline is the best route to go,” Clark said Wednesday as the union’s executive board finished its annual meeting.
The union and MLB are in agreement that treatment would be warranted for opioids and not discipline, Clark said. He added the addition to the drug agreement likely be made this offseason.
“I’m pretty confident that’s where we’re going,” Clark said.
Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1 before the start of a series against the Texas Rangers. A medical examiner’s office said the 27-year-old died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the painkillers fentanyl