CINCINNATI (CBSNewYork/AP) — Citing the example of NFL defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, baseball players’ association head Tony Clark said his union has no intention of allowing teams to obtain medical records of high school and college players ahead of each June’s amateur draft.
Health became a big draft issue last year, when the Houston Astros failed to sign left-hander Brady Aiken, the overall No. 1 selection, because of concern over his elbow. Aiken later had Tommy John surgery, went back into the draft and was selected by Cleveland with the 17th pick of the first round. He agreed to a bonus of $2,513,280, far less than he would have received as the No. 1 selection.
Asked Tuesday during a meeting with the Baseball Writers’ Association about medical records involving prospective draft picks, Clark replied by discussing Pierre-Paul, who was injured in an accident involving fireworks on July 4.
“What happened a few days ago related to JPP’s medical records being made public was a travesty,” the former Met and Yankee said. “There is a moral and ethical standard by which the media — and I’m not preaching, just understand what I’m saying here — that there are guidelines that should be followed, a level of respect for information that should not be public, be followed.
“In an atmosphere where content rules the day — I get it, content rules the day — at some point in time someone has got to decide whether or not that content reaches the light of day and/or perhaps how it should reach the light of day. Giving unmitigated access to information that appears to show up on the blog reports or on someone’s Twitter feed or someone’s Instagram account is a problem. So opening up Pandora’s Box and hoping that everybody plays nice in it is not something that we’re interested in doing right now.
“Simply opening up the floodgates related to medical information and hoping that everybody uses it professionally and uses it in a fashion that suggests it’s protected despite the fact that more people have access to it is not a place that I’m interested or comfortable being at this point in time.”
While baseball management is interested in establishing an international draft, Clark said there were many issues to work through. Only players residing in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada are subject to the current amateur draft, which began in 1965.
“Despite the fact that you may hear others suggest that it is a foregone conclusion or that it (is) easy or that it is a must, it’s not that easy to implement anything that would put a system which on the domestic side has its own challenges, and drop it somewhere internationally with the D.R., Venezuela, Nicaragua, Mexico, Cuba,” he said, going on to add Japan and Korea.
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