BOSTON — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says the results from baseball’s 2003 anonymous survey drug tests have been destroyed.
Manfred revealed the information Sunday while at Fenway Park for David Ortiz’s regular-season finale with the Boston Red Sox.
Federal agents investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) seized urine samples and records from Comprehensive Drug Testing Inc. and Quest Diagnostics Inc. in 2004, leading to a legal battle by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to have them returned. MLB and the union ultimately prevailed before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a case that dragged on to 2010.
Those test results were supposed to remain anonymous and were to be used only to determine whether baseball should institute mandatory drug testing.
There were 104 players who allegedly tested positive, more than enough to trigger the start of testing with penalties in 2004. Identities of four players were leaked to media outlets and never confirmed: Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Sammy Sosa.
Ramirez later tested positive under baseball’s program, and Rodriguez was suspended for the 2014 season for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract.
Ortiz said in 2009 that supplements may have caused a positive test. MLB and the union said then at most 96 urine samples tested positive in the 2003 survey, and the players’ association said 13 of those were in dispute.
Manfred said on Sunday there were at least 10 names on the list whose inclusion could be doubted for “legitimate scientific reasons.”
“Even if you were on that list, it was entirely possible that you were not a positive,” Manfred said.
Asked if there was anything baseball could do to help Ortiz clear his name, Manfred said the results have been destroyed.