Fehr: Exposure will deter use

By wire services
Published March 23, 2005

FORT LAUDERDALE - Union head Donald Fehr said he believes public exposure of steroid users will be the most important deterrent, and he expects players will soon ratify a new agreement on performance-enhancing drugs.

Fehr made his first public comments since Thursday's testimony before a congressional committee investigating steroid use in baseball.

"The biggest deterrent is exposure. Once that happens, that costs all kinds of things in the job," Fehr said after meeting with Orioles players Tuesday. "There's the reputation issue, there's the question everybody's going to look as to whether or not any statistics that individuals put up are legitimate or not, and that can affect future contract negotiations."

After criticism by lawmakers, lawyers for players and owners agreed to drop language giving the commissioner the power to fine players instead of suspending them. Fehr said players' approval of the new wording was "a done deal. ... I don't think there'll be any problem with ratification of the new agreement."

Fehr doesn't think government intervention will be necessary and said existing testing policies already have proven effective.

Baseball officials told Congress there were 84-96 positive tests in 2003, when there were no penalties, and 12 last year, when the penalty for a first positive test was counseling. Starting this year, a first positive test will result in a 10-day suspension without pay.

FENWAY WILL STAND: The Red Sox have decided to stay at Fenway Park, ending years of speculation about whether the team would leave baseball's oldest and smallest stadium.

The Red Sox plan to make an announcement today, the Associated Press reported. Since buying the team in 2002, owners have refused to say whether they would stay long term at Fenway despite several recent upgrades and seat additions.

Meanwhile, Red Sox centerfielder Johnny Damon returned to the lineup without his fever or his beard. Damon, who missed seven games with flulike symptoms, shaved and trimmed his still-flowing locks. "I got sick of it," he said.

HELTON GETS APOLOGY: Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty apologized to the Rockies for comments by radio broadcaster Wayne Hagin suggesting Colorado first baseman Todd Helton used steroids.

"He said on behalf of their organization that he was sorry, and that Todd Helton is one of the finest people in baseball," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said after talking with Jocketty.

CUBS: Reliever Joe Borowski is expected to miss at least six weeks with a broken bone in his arm, another loss for a pitching staff already without Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. The right-hander was a candidate for the closer's job.

ORIOLES: Left-hander Eric DuBose was arrested in Sarasota and charged with drunken driving early Monday after sheriff's deputies saw him swerving and nearly rear-ending a parked car with his truck, according to documents released by the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

PIRATES: Outfielder Jason Bay, last season's NL rookie of the year, swung a bat for the first time since bruising a bone in his left wrist March 8 and is optimistic he'll be ready for opening day April 4.

ROYALS: Joe McEwing signed a minor-league contract and was invited to spring training five days after being released by the Mets.

WHITE SOX: Left-hander Mark Buehrle was announced as the opening-day starter after his left foot injury was found to be less severe than thought.