Carlos Gomez: MLB drug testing isn't random, targets older and Latin players
Carlos Gomez, the veteran Tampa Bay Rays outfielder, says he’s already been drug tested between five and seven times this season. Meanwhile, Gomez says he knows at least one player on his team hasn’t been drug tested at all. His conclusion: MLB’s random drug tests aren’t random.
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With drug testing in baseball back in the headlines after Robinson Cano’s suspension last week, Gomez opened up to the Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast about his experiences with MLB’s drug testing and why he thinks the league’s random drug-testing isn’t random at all.
“It’s not random. It’s not random. I can put my hand on fire, it’s not random,” Gomez told Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast host Jeff Passan. “They pick guys. I think it’s something the way you play, the way you act … I’m the oldest guy on the team. I get here earlier than everybody. Why? Because I have to work harder to maintain my body to support the rest of the season. When I do that and they come to you and have a drug test every time, you get furious. You get mad. One month into the season I got like seven drug tests. Something like that. Between five or seven. That’s not right. We have a guy on the team who for sure hasn’t had one drug test.”
The sixth episode of the Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast was released Tuesday on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Acast and other podcast platforms. It includes Gomez’s drug-testing thoughts, an interview with Josh Hader, the Milwaukee Brewers‘ super reliever and a free-flowing discussion about other baseball topics of the week.
A special episode of the Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast will be released Thursday with the Gomez interview in its entirety — it’s a wide-ranging 70-minute talk about the Latin experience in MLB that hits on Gomez’s acclimation to the U.S., his past on-field beefs and why he plays the game with the flair that he does. If you need to subscribe, click the banner below to find us on Apple Podcasts.
Our interview with Gomez took place the day after Cano’s suspension was announced, which is part of the reason Gomez — who like Cano is from the Dominican Republic — opened up about drug testing.
“Last night was difficult for me to sleep. I was thinking about that,” Gomez said. “That guy has a career that’s Hall of Fame right now. And that’s going to follow him. For 15 years that guy’s been tested and clean every single time. Now they’re gonna have that black tar on his life. ‘Oh, you tested positive.’ ”
Gomez said he feels like two groups of players are targeted for drug tests: Older players and Latin players. Gomez, 32, said he and Rays teammates Sergio Romo (35) and Denard Span (34) have been tested frequently this season.
An MLB spokesman told Yahoo Sports the league’s drug testing is handled by an independent program administrator selected by the league and the players’ union. MLB has no control over who is chosen to be tested, the spokesman said, and the league maintains testing is random.
But Gomez doesn’t agree.
“I go take a Tylenol and I read the paper every time. I panic,” he said. “I’m at home in the Dominican, every time I go on vacation I need to call them that I’m going to be that way. I’m going to be there, here, like it’s uncomfortable because anywhere they can show up and give you a test. In the Dominican last time twice. And this year I’ve gotten as many drug tests as anyone on the team. Fine, you can do it, but it’s embarrassing. After the game you come to celebrate and they grab you, ‘you need to pee’ or ‘we need your blood.’ In one week I had two blood tests. Two in one week. I mean, like, what are you looking for?
“We in the Dominican and Venezuela and Puerto Rico, if I have an accident and they take me to the hospital and I’m not conscious and they put something in me so I could be alive or be better and I don’t know what. They need to make some adjustment to that test because if I’m using something to help me to be a better player, then I get suspended. But like Raul Mondosi Jr., he got suspended when he got the flu and they bring stuff and he take it and it’s 100 percent why he takes it and he still gets suspended. If I get the flu I’m going to take that medicine for the flu, not to perform better on the field … But you guys know already that it’s nothing related to baseball why you suspended that guy. If the organization find what the guy uses exactly and it’s something to help the performance, you suspend him. But if it’s something like for health, it’s not fair.”
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Mike Oz is a writer at Yahoo Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz
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