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Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Union chief talks testing, Josh Hamilton

By Richard Durrett

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Michael Weiner, executive director of the MLB Players Association, was in Surprise on Tuesday as part of the Rangers' union meeting.

But part of that meeting was not to elect a union representative. Both the Rangers' primary representative last year (C.J. Wilson) and a backup (Darren O'Day) are no longer on the club. But the club won't name a new representative until probably June, once the roster is set and the season has started.

Weiner talked to the players about the Ryan Braun case and spoke to the media about Josh Hamilton's recovery. As for the Braun situation, Weiner stressed that that MLB's testing system "remains strong and they [the players] should have confidence in the system" following Braun's successful appeal of a 50-game suspension.

"Any strong program has to to deter use, has to have appropriate penalities and also has to have a fair appeals process," Weiner said. "This doesn't take away from our process. Anybody that wants both a tough and fair program should be satisfied with this result."

As for Hamilton, Weiner said the MLBPA's "initial feeling was the same as anybody -- concern for Josh and his family."

"The union and the Commissioner's Office jointly administer a program and Josh is a part of that," Weiner said. "Josh is working hard under that program and our first concern is for Josh's well-being."

Weiner said the MLBPA and MLB have counselors that will continue to oversee Hamilton's treatment program.

"Josh has the resources that he needs," Weiner said.