The players' union will participate in the news conference, and the MLBPA issued a statement Saturday morning making clear that it will make nothing clear regarding whether Ortiz is on the government-seized list of players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.
The union argues that Ortiz: (a) may not have tested positive at all; (b) might have been the victim of faulty science; and (c) may have been using a legal supplement but still made the list.
Major League Baseball also issued a statement, backing up the union's assertions.
Excerpts from the statement issued by MLBPA general counsel Michael Weiner, who is scheduled to appear with Ortiz on Saturday:
... any union member alleged to have tested positive in 2003 because his name supposedly appears on some list -- most recently David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez -- finds himself in an extremely unfair position; his reputation has been threatened by a violation of the court's orders, but respect for those orders now leaves him without access to the information that might permit him to restore his good name.MLB added this:
First, the number of players on the so-called "government list" meaningfully exceeds the number of players agreed by the bargaining parties to have tested positive in 2003. Accordingly, the presence of a player's name on any such list does not necessarily mean that the player used a prohibited substance or that the player tested positive under our collectively bargained program.
Second, substantial scientific questions exist as to the interpretation of some of the 2003 test results. The more definitive methods that are utilized by the lab that administers the current Drug Agreement were not utilized by the lab responsible for the anonymous testing program in 2003. The collective bargaining parties did not pursue definitive answers regarding these inconclusive results, since those answers were unnecessary to the administration of the 2003 program.
Third, in 2003, legally available nutritional supplements could trigger an initial "positive" test under our program. To account for this, each "test" conducted in 2003 actually consisted of a pair of collections: the first was unannounced and random, the second was approximately 7 days later, with the player advised to cease taking supplements during the interim. Under the 2003 program, a test could be initially reported as "positive", but not treated as such by the bargaining parties on account of the second test.
Major League Baseball does not possess the list of names and is unable to assess the accuracy of leaks relating to individual names. The continued leaks related to the 2003 survey test results are in direct violation of court orders.
However, it should be pointed out that the names on the list, which was prepared by the federal government and not by anyone associated with our Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, are subject to uncertainties with regard to the test results. There are more names on the government list (104) than the maximum number of positives that were recorded under the 2003 program (96). And, as the Mitchell Report made clear, some of the 96 positives were contested by the union.
Given the uncertainties inherent in the list, we urge the press and the public to use caution in reaching conclusions based on leaks of names, particularly from sources whose identities are not revealed.