KBO discusses starting drug testing of players

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KBO discusses starting drug testing of players

Drug testing protocols in Korean professional baseball could change next year to target players who show marked statistical improvements, the league office said Tuesday.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) currently conducts drug tests on five randomly selected Korean players from each of the eight clubs, in addition to all foreign players. Each club is allowed to carry two foreign players.

Officials said they would begin discussing the new testing regulations after this season. The plan calls for selecting players whose performances in a given season exceed their career averages in order to target potential violators of the league’s drug policy.

“It’s obviously important to test many players,” said one KBO official. “But it’s more effective to let players know that if their performances suddenly improve, they will be targeted.”

For 2010, the KBO said it tested players before the season and again in May and August. It expects to test up to 150 out of 208 players on all active rosters.

In August, three new foreign pitchers - Tim Redding of the Samsung Lions, C.J. Nitkowski of the Nexen Heroes and Francisley Bueno of Hanwha - were tested along with 40 Koreans, and they all came out negative.

The KBO doesn’t release the names of local players tested and only reveals the identities of players who test positive.

No foreign player has tested positive while active in the KBO. Dominican pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez’s positive drug test was made public in April, a few weeks after he left the Kia Tigers with an elbow injury.

The league began testing for performance-enhancing drugs in 2007. The first positive test leads to a 10-game suspension, and the third positive test leads to a lifetime ban.

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