KANSAS CITY, MO. – There’s no way to know how many major-league players still are using performance-enhancing drugs, Twins closer Glen Perkins said Monday, no way to be certain that the game has been cleaned up by baseball’s testing program, investigations of suppliers, and suspensions like the ones handed down in the Biogenesis case as the Twins prepared to play the Royals.
But “it’s cleaner now than yesterday,” Perkins said.
Perkins, the Twins’ player representative said he and his teammates support baseball’s efforts to eliminate PED use.
“No one’s disappointed. It’s the goal of the drug agreement — to bring justice to the guys who cheated, and it’s gratifying to see that guys can’t get away with it,” he said.
Though the players were caught because of publicity surrounding the Biogenesis lab, and not detected by drug tests, Perkins said, “I think this is proof that it’s working. ...[It’s] what everybody wants.”
No Twins player was among those suspended by MLB, a fact that Perkins said was a relief. But not a surprise.
“You hope you can trust guys in your clubhouse. It wouldn’t be received too well, if someone had gotten caught,” he said. “We have a group of hard-working and noble people in here, that go about it the right way.”
Among them is Doug Bernier, a player who played 12 minor-league seasons before finally earning a chance in the majors. He’s been in Triple-A since 2007, one step away from a big-league salary, and said he understands the lure of an illegal shortcut.
“It can be tempting, especially that final jump,” the 33-year-old infielder said. “But I can only speak to my own instincts; I have to look myself in the mirror. [Making the majors] is more meaningful because I did it the right way, and I’m proud of that.”
Bernier was a teammate of Alex Rodriguez over three spring trainings with the Yankees, and for two days at Scranton/Wilkes Barre, when Rodriguez was rehabbing an injury. That was a thrill, Bernier said, playing shortstop alongside one of the game’s best players, and he found Rodriguez to be charming and friendly.
“That seems a long way from this,” he said of Rodriguez’s yearlong suspension.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire called it “a sad day for baseball,” but said baseball’s pursuit of drug users is a positive move for the game — and the players.
“It’s the health of the players. Not just their careers, it’s their health after baseball,” Gardenhire said. “Whether they see that now, that’s what they should be seeing — baseball is trying to protect them.”
The Twins eventually will face the suspended players again, All-Stars such as Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta, and Perkins said he’s not sure what those encounters will be like.“Truthfully, it’s [going to be] awkward the next time I see one of those guys,” he said. “It’s weird. But they got what they deserved.”