PITTSBURGH - The day after the Major League Baseball Players Association won a significant legal decision, Phillies union representative Jimmy Rollins called it a victory for privacy rights - but said there was no privacy issue regarding the current drug policy.
A federal appeals court in California ruled in a 9-2 decision Wednesday that prosecutors were wrong to seize the list of 104 players who had failed an ostensibly anonymous drug test in 2003. The tests were meant to gauge how many players were using performance-enhancing drugs. Because more than 5 percent tested positive, a full testing program was instituted the following season.
The prosecutors were investigating whether 10 players had testified accurately in a case against the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (Balco). During a 2004 raid of the company that oversaw drug tests for those players, the prosecutors stumbled across the 2003 list and seized it.
Leaks to the media this year have named Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and Sammy Sosa as players on that list, despite assurances at the time of testing that results would remain forever secret.
"The leaks didn't surprise me," Rollins said yesterday. "If a president's cabinet leaks to the media, anything will come out this day and age. But to my eyes, this was an easy case. How do you rule any other way? We took the test with the assumption it was protected."
Though the union has at times resisted tougher drug-testing policies in part because of privacy concerns, Rollins said he did not see a conflict between cleaning up the sport and maintaining personal privacy.
"No, they don't have to be in conflict," he said. "You just have to respect the way things are done. In 2003, the rules were different and it was meant to be kept private. Now, it's OK to name players who test positive, because the rules have changed."
Mackanin happy in role
Pittsburgh is one of two cities where Pete Mackanin served as an interim big-league manager. When the Pirates fired Lloyd McClendon in September 2005, Mackanin finished the season 12-14. Two years later, he replaced Jerry Narron as manager of the Cincinnati Reds and kept the team in contention, guiding it to a 41-39 record. Disappointed at the time that the Reds did not retain him in that role, Mackanin, 57, is now happy as he winds down his first regular season as Phillies bench coach.
"It's going really well," said Mackanin, whose contract runs through next season. "Of course, I would like to manage again, but it's not my life goal. I could be very happy here for the long term."
Mackanin sees the bench coach's job as essentially twofold: providing strategy suggestions and overseeing details during the game. For example, if it seems that a pinch-hitter like Greg Dobbs or Matt Stairs might be needed, Mackanin must realize that and head down the tunnel and into the batting cage to alert the hitter.
"I feel like I'm obsessive-compulsive sometimes, but that's the job," he said.
Mackanin said that manager Charlie Manuel is generally secure in his strategic ideas and does not need a heavy-handed adviser. "When he is running the game, he has a clear idea of what he wants to do. Sometimes there is a gray area when he is looking for validation."
"I'm real happy with Pete," Manuel said. "He's a good guy and real good to talk baseball with."
Manuel confirmed that Jamie Moyer will start a game in each of two scheduled doubleheaders in September, one against New York and the other vs. Florida. . . . Brett Myers (hip surgery) is scheduled to make his next rehabilitation appearance tomorrow at Reading.
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