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Union still balks at blood test

NEW YORK — While doping agencies hailed Major League Baseball's implementation of random blood testing for human growth hormone in the minor leagues, don't look for the major-league players union to join the applause.

Only players with minor-league contracts can be tested because they are not members of the players' association, which is still against blood testing.

"The union's position on HGH testing remains unchanged," union executive director Michael Weiner said. "When a test is available that is scientifically validated and can be administered safely and without interfering with the players' ability to compete, it will be considered."

Told of baseball's announcement, Gary Wadler, who chairs the committee that determines the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned-substances list, said it was "a significant step forward."

"One important thing is, as young players evolve through the minor leagues, the concept of a blood test will no longer be alien to them," Wadler said. "It will be easier to implement it in the major leagues as more players in the minor leagues recognize it makes sense."

Rangers auction: A federal bankruptcy judge decided to keep the Aug. 4 date to auction off the team, rejecting requests to delay it nearly two months so bidders could line up financing. Mark Cuban, the owner of the NBA's Mavericks and a billionaire businessman, may be among those bidding on the Rangers. Cuban's attorney, Clifton Jessup, said the Mavs owner recently was qualified by MLB to participate in the auction.

Red Sox shuffle Arms: RHP Josh Beckett will return to the Boston rotation tonight after he is activated from the disabled list, sending knuckballer Tim Wakefield, 43, to the bullpen. Beckett, who was out with a low back strain, will make his first start since mid May. He is 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA in eight starts. Wakefield is 3-8 with a 5.58 ERA this season. "Well, I don't think he wanted to hug me," manager Terry Francona said of Wakefield's reaction to the move.

Angels-Royals deal: The Angels hope they boosted their offense, acquiring INF Alberto Callaspo from the Royals for pitchers Sean O'Sullivan and Will Smith. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Callaspo will bring versatility — he has played third, second and shortstop — and gives the team a bat to help fill the void left by 1B Kendry Morales' broken leg.

Cubs: RHP Carlos Zambrano gave up two singles then worked out of trouble to pitch a scoreless inning in his first rehab appearance for Triple-A Iowa since being put on the restricted list by the Cubs after a confrontation with a teammate. He'll likely make at least one more appearance before the Cubs evaluate a possible return.

Mets: GM Omar Minaya says Jerry Manuel's job is safe despite the team's 8-16 record in its last 24 games.

Phillies: LHP Jamie Moyer, 47, is headed for the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury that forced him out of his last start. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said Moyer will be out indefinitely, but the team hadn't determined whether he would require reconstructive surgery. … Hitting coach Milt Thompson was fired and replaced by former OF Greg Gross.

Reds: C Ramon Hernandez was activated from the 15-day DL, and RHP Jason Isringhausen, 37, agreed to a minor-league contract, giving the reliever a chance to continue his comeback from elbow surgery. Isringhausen, who has 293 career saves, had reconstructive elbow surgery in June last year, when he played for Tampa Bay. He also had elbow surgery in 2008.

Union still balks at blood test 07/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 23, 2010 12:48am]
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