NEW YORK (AP) – Tom Glavine has noticed a change when the New York Mets go on the road this year: More players are remaining at the team hotel after games rather than heading out for a night on the town.

The reason? For the first time, players are being tested for amphetamines.

“I think it’s changed guys’ behavior, no question about it,” Glavine said. “Guys are trying to find other ways to compensate for that, whether it’s getting more sleep or drinking more coffee.”

More time on the pillows means less time in bars and clubs.

“Ah, clean livers,” San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “That’s what the commissioner was shooting for, right? And it didn’t take very long.”

Under pressure from Congress, baseball owners and players agreed in November to a toughened drug plan. It includes testing for stimulants and longer suspensions for positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids.

Major leaguers are tested once during spring training and once during the regular season and are subject to additional random tests.

“It seems every couple of weeks I was tested,” Arizona’s Eric Byrnes said.

With amphetamines, baseball doesn’t release the names of players who test positive for the first time, which results in counseling. But no player has tested positive twice, which would result in a 25-game suspension.

“There’s no question in my mind: The program has been very successful,” commissioner Bud Selig said. “The banning of amphetamines has been meaningful.”

Selig wouldn’t say whether he thinks the testing has changed baseball’s culture, in which “greenies” long were available for pooped players looking for a boost. But his chief labor negotiator is convinced it has.

“I’m sure people changed their behavior. There’s no doubt that it had an effect,” said Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president for labor relations.

“Greenies” were a topic that generally remained in the clubhouse, with players talking in slang whether they would “bean up” or “play naked” – go without them.

“There is little hard data against which to compare, but my supposition is that testing acts as a deterrent,” said Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the players’ association. “If it does, then by definition behavior has been affected.”

For performance-enhancing drugs, there are numbers to back up Selig’s assertion that the sport has cleaned up.

There were 83-96 positive tests in 2003, when baseball conducted anonymous survey testing. That range of positive tests stems from unresolved disputes. In 2004, there were 12 positive tests.

In 2005, the first year an initial positive test resulted in a suspension, 12 players on major league rosters and 81 on minor league rosters were penalized.

This year, when the penalty for first-offenders increased from 10 days to 50 games, there have been just two suspensions under the major league program. Pitcher Yusaku Iriki tested positive while on the New York Mets roster during spring training, and pitcher Jason Grimsley was penalized after authorities tracked a package containing human growth hormone to his home. Grimsley already had been released by Arizona when he was suspended.

“It seems to me like it’s working pretty good,” Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Greg Maddux said. “I know you hear things here and there around the clubhouse, and to me, guys aren’t doing it anymore.”

In the minor leagues, there have been 36 suspensions – 31 for performance-enhancing drugs and five for drugs of abuse, such as cocaine.

The majority of those caught in the minors are from Latin America. Of the 31 who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, 13 were born in Venezuela, 11 in the Dominican Republic, five in the United States and one each in Canada and Colombia.

“We are spending literally millions of dollars on educational programs in the Dominican Republic,” Manfred said. “I think the single biggest thing is the difference in regulation of substances. It could be a situation where things are being administered by physicians, and people are not fully aware of what’s in them.”

Grimsley’s case brought increased attention to HGH in baseball.

Like the NFL, baseball doesn’t test for it, saying there isn’t a valid urine or blood test, and is funding a study to develop one. Dr. Gary Wadler, a member of World Anti-Doping Agency, says there is a valid blood test, but baseball doesn’t conduct any blood testing.

“Deny, deny, deny doesn’t mean there’s no problem,” Wadler said.

Manfred and Orza counter they want an HGH test as soon as one is available.

“The development of a reliable, accurate HGH test would help eliminate a lot of the speculation the sport – all sports – seemingly have to absorb,” Orza said.

Wadler said it is difficult to analyze baseball’s testing program because the number of tests and the positive results for stimulants are not been made public. He cited WADA’s 2005 data for Olympic sports, in which roughly 2 percent of samples (2,958 of 139,836) produced what he said were “adverse analytic findings.”

With roughly 1,200 major leaguers, baseball’s percentage of positives for performance-enhancing drugs is minuscule.

“Is baseball’s program so effective as a deterrent that it’s way down? That’s a possibility,” Wadler said. “I would suspect there’s decreased use because of increased awareness and testing, but I would suggest there’s a paucity of data to draw conclusions from.”



AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley and AP freelance writer Joe Resnick contributed to this report

AP-ES-09-28-06 1614EDT


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