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Mike Jacobs suspended 50 games for HGH

Aug 18, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

Mike Jacobs AP

Mike Jacobs, a 1B/DH type who spent time with the Mets, Marlins and Royals over the years, and who this year has been playing at Colorado Springs for the Rockies organization, has been suspended 50 games for HGH.

This comes less than a week after the Denver Post wrote a story about how it’s Jacobs’ “mission” to get back to the bigs. Money quote:

“I’m trying to show baseball people that I don’t belong in Triple-A … There are times when you think you’ve been forgotten. I want an opportunity to be remembered if not with the Rockies, with another big-league team.”

Well, we’ll certainly remember you now, Mike.  Most notably, I think, for getting tripped up by the Minors’ HGH test which, unless things have changed, is only effective for a very short time after the HGH is injected, meaning that either (a) Jacobs has incredibly bad luck; or (b) someone ratted him out.

  1. sdelmonte - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Or he’s really not that smart about when to use.

    • Old Gator - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:54 AM

      Or that he’s really not that smart in general.

      • paperlions - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:01 AM

        If he’s using HGH, he’s obviously not that smart….and not because of testing, but because it has no measurable benefits that would translate into the ability to play baseball….so he was taking a risk and spending a lot of money for nothing.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:06 AM

        Paperlions, I don’t know how many times I can link this to you and have you totally ignore the results. But here it is for the 4th time at least.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:11 AM

        Thanks Jonny, interesting article. Some issues though:

        “63 male participants were assigned to receive one of four regimens”

        63/4 = almost 16 people per regimen. 16 people is no where a large enough sample size to give definitive proof on gain.

        “After eight weeks, researchers found that growth hormone improved sprint capacity in men and women by an average of 3.9% over the placebo group”

        Any chance you have the link to the actual study. What does sprint capacity mean? Are they merely looking at times? Muscle mass? What? I hope it’s not times as sprinters times fluctuate wildly (more than enough to cover the gain shown above).

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:20 AM

        COPO, with some Googling you surely could dig it up if you use the right key words. I’ve seen it in it’s original format but this is the only link I have. You must admit that it’s showing some improvement in all the male test subjects (hormone related i’m sure). Which ANY improvement will be utilized by athletes with mucho $$$ on the line. And from reading it a couple of times, it improved their sprint times, which we all know helps any baseball player. If it improves your running speed/ endurance, I’d bet it will improve other aspects as well.

      • ThatGuy - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        Not that the study isn’t true, I have no idea. But I wish an independent University or organization outside the WADA was involved. I always have trouble believing studies by organizations that they stand to make money from the results. Which WADA does, as they are always trying to get their hands on the drug testing of the four major sports.

        Another thing I thought was if the training regiments of the participants changed. It says they were recreational athletes. Did they keep the exact same workout regimant during the study as they had before? Or where they working out more. If a guy went from just recreationally working out to actually training, shaving .4 off a 100 in two months wouldn’t be difficult at all.

      • paperlions - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:36 AM

        Jonny, explain to me how a 3.9% in sprint capacity translates to improved baseball performance.

        How many times to I have to mention that a change to foundational tools typically does not translate into a change in baseball performance, which is based on highly derived skills.

        Does HGH improve the ability to read pitches out of the hand?

        Does it improve hand-eye coordination?

        Does it improve timing or hitting technique?

        There is nothing in the study that suggests HGH can help anyone hit a ball, catch a ball, or pitch effectively.

        A 3.9% improvement in “sprint capacity” wouldn’t even help a player steal a base or play defense because reading the play and getting a good jump are still necessary and unrelated to HGH use.

        There are also dozens of other studies that have found no significant benefit of HGH use in healthy adults.

        So….in answer to your question, an infinite number of posts won’t have an effect because the small effect noted in that article based on a very small sample size.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:39 AM

        ThatGuy, I agree. Much more independent studying of HGH and it’s effects are needed and I’m really not sure why NOBODY is doing it. This is one case where they did find improvement and without more done we still don’t have a definitive answer. I just wish people wouldn’t act as if other people must be crazy for thinking HGH improves an athlete’s performance. From what I see between this study and the fact that it’s being used frequently by athletes ,it very well could make decent strength / endurance gains. Without more done to test it’s effects I refuse to discount it benefiting a players performance like many other people seem all too willing to do.

      • ThatGuy - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:43 AM

        I did some googling for the paper, couldn’t find it. But I did find other articles that discussing it. Two of them said that no gains were found in strength, agility and jumping metrics. There were also paragraphs that said the authors couldn’t say for sure whether or not it was the HGH or the fact that the athletes were training harder.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM

        I’m sorry PL, but that’s a surefire bonehead answer if I ever heard one. Faster in sports and stronger in sports equals better. I guess steroids didn’t help some players in your mind either?

        What is significant to you anyway? What’s significant improvement to a player fighting for his professional career? Take the blinders off is all I’m saying, I don’t care if you do or don’t but to be so close minded here when it comes to HGH with as little as it’s been tested is again trusting a small sample size. It appears you picked your stance from a small sample size to begin with and have decided that you’d put down anyone who doesn’t agree. Which brings me back to the “bonehead” point I made earlier.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:50 AM

        TG, more needs to be done obviously before anybody decides it improves performance or not. Which is my point. Don’t count out the effects because one day we will know more, and will know exactly what it does to our bodies. Until that day, Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t?

      • paperlions - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:57 AM

        No, it doesn’t. The strongest man doesn’t hit the most HR or throw the ball the hardest. The fastest man doesn’t steal the most bases or play the best defense. There are more subtle abilities that require skills that simply can not be helped by PEDs. They won’t give you plate disciple, they won’t give you hand-eye coordination, and they won’t give you control of your pitches.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        trying to respond to a bunch of comments:

        And from reading it a couple of times, it improved their sprint times

        Except the study doesn’t say that. It said it improved their sprint capacity which could translate into a better time. WTF does capacity mean? Is it muscle growth? Note, i don’t expect you to answer this, but it’s a weird statement.

        Much more independent studying of HGH and it’s effects are needed and I’m really not sure why NOBODY is doing it

        Because from what I’ve read and been told (brother in law has his PhD in chem and works for biotechs), it’s extremely hard getting to the human phase in testing, especially with something that can be harmful to humans.

      • ThatGuy - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:04 PM

        Paperlions- Your kind of just being naive or agrueing for fun right now. No one is saying that it gives you hand eye coordination to hit a curveball, timing to steal a base, plate discipline, etc. But if you already have those skills, its stupid to think extra strength, speed won’t make you better.

        Barry Bonds is the classic example, he was already a stud player with amazing baseball gifts. Roided up like the hulk, he could now mash the ball into the next century because he already had the skills necassary to play the game at an all-star level.

      • nick5253 - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:09 PM

        I haven’t read any studies on HGH so I really don’t know about performance enhancing aspects. But IF, big IF, they increase speed and power even 1% then they help a baseball player.

        Of course they don’t help catch a ball or hit a ball. These are abilities honed by the athlete over years and years of practice and could never be instantly gained no matter what the drug. But, take a AAAA type player who has the skills to excell in hitting and catching a baseball to be a good, not great, AAA player, but that just doesn’t have the power to get his shot in the bigs. That is the type of player that might benefit the most from getting that extra edge in power and speed.

        Also, IF the drug helps recover from injury faster, that would greatly benefit a player who takes it when compared against others who don’t. He won’t wear down as much over time and be able to consistently put up numbers. That is probably the bigger gain than the minimal (if any) performance boost.

      • nick5253 - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:16 PM

        paperlions – are you mentally picturing some nobody taking HGH and walking onto a baseball field as the next Barry Bonds? If yes, then you are correct, that will never happen.

        However, I suggest you look at an actual professional baseball player who has played the game for 10+ years at a high level. He has the hand eye cordination and the ability to pick up a baseball out of the hand of the pitcher and get good reads to steal a base. Now picture that same pro a little bit faster and stronger. Is he better?

        If no, then why do professional baseball players work out? Why do they train at all? If it is only hand eye cordination and these other abilities they’ve learned over time, why would they try and conidition themselves over the offseason? They must be real dumb.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 19, 2011 at 10:32 PM

        Sorry to be late to this party, but I’ve been out of town.

        Since J5 added a link to a small study, I’ll counter with the Mayo Clinic’s web site:
        “Although it appears that human growth hormone injections can increase muscle mass and reduce the amount of body fat in healthy older adults, the increase in muscle doesn’t translate into increased strength.”

        So…if someone who’s otherwise healthy wants to cause muscle swelling, by all means try HGH. If the idea is to get stronger, faster, or improve bat speed–look elsewhere.

        Regardless, one might want to consider whether it’s worth it even if the marginal improvement cited by the article J5 linked is true as the following is also from the same Mayo Clinic article already linked:
        “Human growth hormone may cause a number of side effects for healthy adults, including:
        Carpal tunnel syndrome
        Swelling in the arms and legs
        Joint pain
        Muscle pain
        For men, enlargement of breast tissue (gynecomastia)

        Human growth hormone may also contribute to conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.”

        The 1/2 life of HGH is measured in hours. Testing positive is indeed the result of idiocy or getting ratted out. The benefits of abusing the stuff are marginal; the benfits of a testing program are purely for deterrence and political appearance. However, the point of deterring use of something that doesn’t actually enhance performance is weak at best.

      • joshshaine - Aug 20, 2011 at 12:24 AM


        That’s an interesting Mayo Clinic article, but really not relevant to this discussion.

        Its focus is on “the realities of old age.” So, “there’s little evidence to suggest human growth hormone can help otherwise healthy adults regain youth and vitality.”

        The references supplied are overwhelmingly to articles about aging and the elderly.

        Did you read the 2nd link, down at the bottom of this page, with the abstract of and reactions to the study that J5 mentioned?

  2. Jonny 5 - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    Good. Either way, good.

  3. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Hugh Grant Hormone? Doesn’t that just make you more apt to pick up hookers?

  4. nategearhart - Aug 18, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    His timing was every bit as bad at the plate, which is why his OBP is roughly 2. And he was always so damn proud of his suck. One of my least favorite Royals, ever.

  5. adenzeno - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Some guy in a fitness/outdoors magazine self experimented about 6 years ago and worte about it. I remember reading the article on line, but stupidly did not save it. The gist of his article was that he had MUCH improved endurance, his eyesight actually improved and some scars healed. Now, I am only telling what I recall, and memory can be faulty, but reading that article convinced me that, IF he was telling the truth, that there is serious benefit to the use if HGH etc, especially in baseball where it is such a grind. Maybe someone more Googley gifted than I can find that article. He was in a lot of multi day Bicycle races.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 18, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      Phew, thank god anecdote is the plural of data.

      /sarcasm off

  6. joshshaine - Aug 18, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    For those of you wanting the original study:

    If you look at the bottom of the abstract page (), you will see links to comments by critics, a response from Dr. Ho, and other pieces of interest.

    • joshshaine - Aug 20, 2011 at 12:27 AM

      I botched the HTML for the abstract with the comments! (Oh, the horrors.)

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