Hoping to shut up detractors, many MLB players are lobbying for mandatory blood testing.


“It’s probably the only way to silence critics who think we’re a bunch of HGH users,” said New York Yankees all-star shortstop Derek Jeter said. “This issue has received so much attention that most of us are being painted with the same brush. It’s unfair.”


Urine testing for performance-enhancing drugs is permitted in MLB but the players’ union has long objected to blood testing, arguing they invade privacy. HGH, however, can only be detected through blood tests, so Jeter et al are pushing for its institution.


“I don’t like needles,” said Atlanta Braves slugger Chipper Jones, “but I’d agree to blood testing. Most of us have nothing to hide and this would prove it.”


•Baby Boss Hank Steinbrenner is starting to remind folks of father George, who never shied away from controversy during his 35-year reign of the Yanks.

Asked how badly fans in Boston might react to the HGH-related admissions of Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, Hank said: “I don’t think they’d want to holler too loud at him. They had plenty of players doing this stuff, too. It’s just that those players weren’t mentioned in the Mitchell Report.”

Said Red Sox executive Larry Lucchino: “It serves no purpose to comment on (Hank’s) gratuitous and reckless accusations.”

Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, on the Blue Jays: “This year, they project a staggering $93 million (US) payroll. And for what? Another season of staring at the backsides of Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter and the rest of the Red Sox and Yankees?” … Update on ex-Jays: Brandon Lyon is the Arizona Diamondbacks’ new closer, Gabe Gross soon will be dealt from the Milwaukee Brewers to the San Diego Padres and Shawn Green, at 35, is officially retired.

•In the NBA, Torontonian Jamaal Magloire chose to sign a one-year, minimum ($1.03 million) contract with Dallas instead of Detroit because the Pistons wouldn’t guarantee him playing time whereas the Mavericks assured him he’d sub in regularly for centre Erick Dampier … Word in New York: The Knicks will keep Isiah Thomas as coach but replace him as president with Kiki Vandeweghe … Word in Miami: Heat execs intend to pursue the Raptors’ point guard, Jose Calderon, in the off-season, when he’ll be a restricted free agent.

•And I think Bryan Murray of the Ottawa Senators should have fired himself, not John Paddock. Find out why in my latest NHL Report, only at www.metronews.ca.