NEW YORK — Players and management hope to reach a new drug agreement this week that would increase initial penalties for muscle-building steroids and decrease suspensions for some positive tests caused by unintentional use, the Associated Press reported.
For future suspensions, the deal also would eliminate the loophole allowing Alex Rodriguez to earn almost $4 million during his season-long ban, AP reported.
The sides hope to reach an agreement by Sunday, when the Dodgers open the U.S. portion of the major-league schedule at the Padres.
While the lengths have not been finalized, the sides are discussing a 100-game ban for an initial violation and a season-long ban for a second, according to AP.
Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said in a telephone interview Tuesday, "It probably is the best policy in professional sports."
For inadvertent use, the penalty for a first violation would be cut in half to 25 games.
"What we're all here for is to rid sports of the intentional cheats, those who are intending to defraud both the fans and their fellow teammates, the integrity of competition," Tygart said. "You want to have provisions in place that allow for whether there's an inadvertent or a truly non-intentional situation which may arise."
Since the 2006 season, Major League Baseball's drug agreement has called for a 50-game suspension for a first positive steroids test, a 100-game ban for a second and a lifetime penalty for a third. Commissioner Bud Selig in March last year called for tougher penalties, and then-union head Michael Weiner said players would consider them for 2014.
AILING RANGERS: Texas right-hander Yu Darvish will miss his scheduled start in Monday's season opener, leaving the already injury-riddled team without its ace. Darvish said through his interpreter that he knew he wasn't going to be ready to pitch in the home game against the Phillies because of neck stiffness.
REHAB ARRANGEMENT: The Mets and Matt Harvey have agreed where the right-hander will rehabilitate from elbow ligament replacement surgery. General manager Sandy Alderson said Harvey will be with the club in New York during homestands and work at the spring complex in Port St. Lucie when the Mets are on the road. Harvey has been adamant he rehabilitate in New York rather than Port St. Lucie. New York also announced it paid right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka $100,000 to retain him.
SURGERY FOR EX-CY: Former Cy Young winner Frank Viola has open heart surgery scheduled April 2 and will be unable to serve as pitching coach of the Mets' Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate, espn.com reported. Viola, 53, had a heart issue detected during his initial spring training physical.
D'BACKS: Charges were dismissed against now-former Spanish-language announcer Miguel Perez Quintana, who was accused of threatening his wife with a knife during an argument at their home in July.
DODGERS: An MRI exam revealed only inflammation in outfielder Yasiel Puig's sore back, and he's considered day to day.
INDIANS: Converted catcher Carlos Santana will be the starting third baseman, manager Terry Francona told mlb.com. Santana hasn't played the position since 2008 at Class A.
MARINERS: Left-hander Randy Wolf, who was trying to come back from Tommy John surgery, was released at his request.
MARLINS: Former Rays utility man Ty Wigginton was released.
NATIONALS: Right-hander Chris Young, who had a solid camp after not pitching the majors last season, and veteran left-handed reliever Michael Gonzalez were released.
PIRATES: Left-hander Francisco Liriano is scheduled to test his ailing groin today in a simulated or minor-league game. Liriano left Thursday's start after feeling tightness in his groin and leg. Also, Pittsburgh acquired right-hander Vance Worley from the Twins for cash.