Wiggins Gets OK, but Padres Balk
San Diego Padre President Ballard Smith said he has no intention of reinstating second baseman Alan Wiggins to the club’s active roster this season, despite a decision by a drug-abuse review panel that the player is “ready to resume play from a medical standpoint.”
“Our position is the same as before,” said Smith, who earlier announced that Wiggins wouldn’t rejoin the team this season. “We’re not going to do anything different. Nothing has changed. I don’t think the Joint Review Council has any authority over the situation.”
Asked about Wiggins’ status after this season, Smith said: “I don’t see him coming back at all.”
The Joint Review Council, made up of three doctors knowledgeable about drug abuse and set up by major league baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement last year, met here Monday to determine whether Wiggins was medically able to return to work. The decision was the panel’s first since it was created.
The Major League Baseball Players Assn. said that Smith’s decision to suspend Wiggins for the season violates the joint drug agreement between the players union and the club owners.
Wiggins, currently on the supplemental rehabilitation list, was present at Monday’s review, along with Lee MacPhail, president of the owners’ Player Relations Committee.
Asked about provisions of the joint drug agreement that prohibit a club from imposing sanctions against a player who voluntarily seeks therapy for a drug problem, Smith said as far he is concerned the Padres had not taken any punitive actions.
“We’re still paying him,” he said.
Smith declined to say whether the club would now seek to trade Wiggins or send him to the minors for a period of playing rehabilitation not to exceed 20 days.
“We’re pursuing several options,” Smith said. “We’ll have to decide which one of them we’re going to pursue.”
The reinstatement decision was reached after more than four hours’ discussion in a private room at the union’s offices.
By agreement, none of the participants would comment on the decision.
Wiggins voluntarily entered treatment shortly after failing to show up for an April 25 game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. It was the second time in three years that he had undergone treatment for cocaine dependency.
However, Donald Fehr, the union’s acting director, said that Wiggins is a first-time offender because the current drug agreement was not in force in 1982, when he was arrested for cocaine possession and suspended from baseball for 30 days.