Major League Baseball is taking aim at one of the biggest issue on the international market.On Thursday, the Office of the Commissioner announced an initiative called the Trainer Partnership Program, which works in partnership with trainers from Latin America to combat the use of performance-enhancing substances by amateur players and
Major League Baseball is taking aim at one of the biggest issue on the international market.
On Thursday, the Office of the Commissioner announced an initiative called the Trainer Partnership Program, which works in partnership with trainers from Latin America to combat the use of performance-enhancing substances by amateur players and to help improve compliance with league rules.
"We have realized in our conversations with trainers and clubs, and everybody involved in the Dominican player-development system, that the use of performance-enhancing drugs by the youth is a problem, and second, to fix that problem we all have to work together to be able to do it," said Morgan Sword, MLB's senior vice president, league economics & operations. "And the Partnership Program is what we have come up with as a way for us to work together to help eradicate the use of PEDs among those players. We are very encouraged by how positively this program has been received by players. Many of the most prominent trainers in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela are participating in the program."
There are 46 trainers from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela who have agreed to participate in the pilot program, and more are expected to join in the coming months. As part of the program, participating trainers are required to enroll their players in MLB's drug-testing program that began this week, submit to background checks and keep updated records of amateur players in their programs. They must also comply with MLB rules regarding international-player signings.
Additionally, participating trainers also have access to enhanced scouting opportunities and the opportunity to work with MLB to address issues in Latin American amateur baseball. The first showcase for participants in the Trainer Partnership Program will be held from Sept. 18-20 in front of representatives from all 30 teams at Temistocles Metz Stadium in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. A similar event is scheduled for Venezuela in the fall.
Last month, Major League Baseball revealed a series of changes and new rules for amateur baseball tryouts in Latin America.
"It's a voluntary program and each trainer can choose to participate or not participate, but we think the trainer that chooses to participate will see significant benefits," Sword said. "First, they will be part of a group of people that's working to eradicate a problem of PEDs in the Dominican Republic. Second, they will get access to scouting opportunities that trainers that aren't in the program won't have access to. No. 3, they'll have a direct line to our office to discuss issues related to Latin American baseball and our rules and procedures. Fourth, we are going to do what we can to educate young players and their families about the benefits of choosing a Partner Trainer when the time comes to do that."
Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.