According to popular lore and internet rumor, HGH (human growth hormone) is the most commonly used Performance Enhancing Drug on the market, now that basic steroid testing has taken hold in baseball.
HGH is common because it's hard to test for: two samples of an athlete's blood must be examined, trying to spot differences between naturally occurring hormone and synthetic hormone.
This sense of subjectivity was one of the key counterarguments of the last decade. But it appears that the recent suspension of a English rugby player convinced MLB officials that the HGH test is ready for prime time.
By starting blood testing in the minor leagues, Mr. Selig is following the pattern he adopted in 2001, when he initiated steroid testing in the minor leagues. A year later, the players union, in a new collective bargaining agreement, opened the door to testing in the majors. That testing began in 2003 and has been made more stringent since then. ...
H.G.H., which helps increase lean muscle mass, has been banned in the minor leagues since 2004 and in the majors since 2005. Although its use is prohibited in a great majority of professional sports leagues around the world, there is continuing scientific debate about how much it enhances athletic performance.
There is debate about how much (and for some, if) HGH helps athletes perform. From everything I understand about the drug, it does. Much like traditional steroids, it helps athletes rebuild muscle faster- meaning pitchers can throw 100% more often, hitters and fielders recover more quickly from the nagging aches and pains that come from pushing your body every day for half the year or more.
We all know that the Players' Union would never let a testing program start at the big league level: one false positive ruins a career, and the exposure of the league's drug use ruins the game.
Selig deserves a little bit of praise today- minor league baseball is now at the cutting edge of sport drug enforcement, with tougher, more inclusive testing than any major pro sport in America.