Friday, August 10, 2007

The Hair Club For Baseball Suspensions

Things really aren't going your way when you receive a suspension because of the hair growth medicine you're taking. Which is exactly what happened to an American pitcher playing in a Japanese baseball league.

An American pitcher has become the first player to fail a drug test in Japanese baseball history.

Japanese baseball commissioner Yasuchika Negoro said Friday that Rick Guttormson tested positive for a banned substance and has been suspended for 20 days. Guttormson's team, the Softbank Hawks in Japan's Pacific League, were fined $63,000.

Japanese baseball officials said a postgame test July 13 revealed Finasteride in Guttormson's system. Finasteride was in a hair-growing agent the 30-year-old Guttormson had been taking for two years. It's banned because it can be used as a masking agent.

I wasn't able to find any pictures showing exactly how bald Guttormson is, but it doesn't sound like he was purposefully trying to mask his test results. It sounds like he was just the unfortunate victim of baseball's broad steroid/doping ban.

And while using the excuse "I didn't know" isn't always viable because the players are supposedly informed of what is legal and what isn't, there does seem to be an expansive gray area that legit players get caught in. Hopefully it's something that can be tweaked to make incidents like this non-existent.

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