Leon Durham's substance-abuse problem is another argument for mandatory drug testing in the major leagues, Cincinnati Reds general manager Murray Cook says.
Cook announced Tuesday that Durham, who missed three games in a weekend series in Montreal, has agreed to enter a substance-abuse program. Cook declined to be more specific about Durham's problem."There needs to be some sort of definitive drug program brought forth between management and the players, one that would include the possibility of testing," Cook said.
There's currently no mandatory drug testing in major-league baseball.
"I think it's a shame," Cook said. "I don't think it works to the benefit of anybody."
Durham is the second Reds player to go into a substance-abuse program this year. Outfielder Eddie Milner missed the first two months of the season because of a cocaine relapse.
"I just hope he's OK," Milner said Tuesday night, following an 11-2 victory over the New York Mets. "I couldn't tell (he had a problem). All I want to say about it is I wish him luck. He has my support."
Durham, 30, missed the games in Montreal, telling the ballclub he was depressed over his lack of playing time and the anniversary of his brother's death. The Reds put him on the 21-day disabled list Monday, retroactive to July 11. Cook revealed Durham's substance abuse Tuesday, without specifying the substance involved.
Milner went into rehabilitation for cocaine use this spring training. Because it was Milner's second involvement with drugs, baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth suspended him for the season. The penalty later was shortened to just under two months.
It's Durham's first substance-abuse episode, so he's not subject to additional penalty from Ueberroth, Cook said.