Verlander takes stand on PEDs: ‘We want a clean game’

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Justin Verlander is 2-0, with a 1.46 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in games against Chris Sale, whom he faces Saturday.

Minneapolis — Justin Verlander’s outrage isn’t directed at Marlins’ Dee Gordon, Blue Jays’ Chris Colabello or any specific player who has tested positive for PEDs.

The target for his outrage is much broader.

“The players, we are all together on this — we want a clean game,” Verlander said before the Tigers played the Twins Friday night. “The Players Association has pushed to get the system where it is now. I think people think it’s the other way around, but it’s not.

“It’s the players who have pushed the system to where it’s at and we still want it to be better. We have the best system in the world right now. Is it good enough? No.”

Verlander, who is serving as the Tigers player rep, has long been an outspoken advocate of creating a better testing system, increased frequency of testing and harsher penalties. In the wake of Gordon’s 80-game suspension, which was handed down Friday, and Colabello’s, which was levied last week, Verlander reiterated his platform.

“The problem is, the quality of the stuff the guys are taking is better than the quality of our tests,” he said. “They are always a step ahead. I think there needs to be more testing and harsher penalties for those who test positive. That’s the consensus among the players and I would think that’s what everybody wants.

“It’s something the MLB needs to address.”

Verlander was also miffed that players who test positive are still allowed to play through the appeal process. He took to Twitter early Friday.

“This PED (crap) is killing me,” he tweeted. “If u (sic) test positive u need to not play. You shouldn’t be allowed to effect games while appealing.”

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He elaborated Friday.

“I’m not saying the appeals process should be done away with,” he said. “I’m just saying guys shouldn’t be on the field when it’s been proven (that he ingested a banned substance). I think they have an advantage.

“Maybe it gets flipped around. You still have the appeal process. I know there have been one or two where it was proven they were given a tainted supplement …OK, here’s your back pay. I still don’t think they should be allowed on the field in the first place.”

Whether the player meant to take a supplement, Verlander said, he still had an advantage over players who were clean.

“There’s so much at stake,” he said. “We’re fighting and clawing for 162 games. You’d hate to see something happen where at the end you lose by a game and you can look back and say what if? What if that guy hadn’t been on the field?”

Again, Verlander was careful not to talk specifically about any individual player, but he is convinced steroids are still being used at the big-league level, and the masking capabilities are ahead of the testing measures.

Verlander cited a couple of public statements made by Anthony Bosch, who was indicted and served time for his role in the BALCO scandal.

“I saw a quote from him in USA Today where he said you’d have to be an idiot to get caught,” Verlander said. “I am not referencing the guys who got caught as being idiots, please understand that. This is what he said. Because of the efficiency of what’s out there now, you can take it and not get caught — if you do it the right way.”

That’s why he’s pushing for better testing procedures, more frequent testing and harsher penalties.

“I won’t put anything in my system that’s (not NSF approved),” he said. “I don’t worry about it. Test me every day, I don’t care. I’ve been that way my whole career. I don’t have a problem with steroids; I have a problem with cheating.

“If everybody is allowed to take it — fine. But nobody is allowed to take it. And if you do, you are cheating everybody else.”

Around the horn

…Center fielder Cameron Maybin (shoulder) restarted his rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo Friday. He served as the designated hitter. “He needs to get his shoulder strength back,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “It shouldn’t take too long. But I would think he’d be out through our off-day (Monday) at least.”

…Catcher James McCann (ankle) was expected to catch nine innings for the Mud Hens Friday. If he comes through that soundly, he could be back with the Tigers by Sunday. “We are going to need to see how he feels (Saturday),” Ausmus said. “And we have a day game, so I don’t think it will be Saturday.”

…ESPN has picked up the Tigers-Nationals game at 7:05 p.m. on May 9. It will also be shown on FSD.

Twitter: @cmccosky