San Diego second baseman Alan Wiggins was declared medically able to play yesterday by a major league baseball drug review board, but the Padres' president, Ballard Smith, said he would not be allowed to rejoin the team and might be traded.
The Joint Review Council, a board of physicians specializing in treatment of drug abuse, determined Wiggins was "ready to resume play from a medical standpoint." It was the panel's first decision since it was formed last year under the major leagues' Joint Drug Agreement.
Smith and the Padres' owner, Joan Kroc, stated last month that Wiggins would not be allowed to join the team this year, regardless of the board's decision.
Smith expanded his statement yesterday, saying that Wiggins was permanently off the team even though that decision violates the drug agreement.
The joint agreement arrived at last year between the Players Association and the owners' Player Relations Committee states that no punitive action can be taken against a player if he successfully completes rehabilitation and no arrest is involved in the case.
Smith said a trade was one option to be considered by the club, which has had a strong antidrug policy. The Baltimore Orioles are one of several teams that have expressed cautious interest.
"A trade is certainly an option," Smith said. "We were not represented at the panel, so we only learned of the decision late today. Until we've had a chance to study the situation we won't know what our options are."
Another option is to send Wiggins to the minors for a playing rehabilitation period not to exceed 20 days.
Eugene Orza, associate general counsel for the Players Association, confirmed that the Padres' refusal to accept Wiggins would be in violation of the agreement.
The Player Relations Committee president, Lee MacPhail, was unavailable for comment. Wiggins, who attended the four-hour panel meeting at the union offices in New York along with MacPhail, also could not be reached for comment.
Wiggins voluntarily entered a treatment program shortly after failing to show up for an April 25 game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Wiggins was arrested and charged with cocaine possession and suspended from baseball for 30 days in 1982. But charges were dropped when he underwent a drug rehabilitation program.
He is considered a first-time offender under the drug agreement because the 1982 incident occurred before the agreement was struck.
Smith, however, said Wiggins was warned in 1982 that the club would not tolerate another offense.
"This is the third time Alan has either been in trouble with the law or his employer regarding drugs," Smith said.
"In 1982 we told him that if he had a problem again we would help him get treatment, but that he would not play for us again," he said. We did help him get treatment, and Alan will not play for us again."
Wiggins, in the first year of a four-year, $2 million contract, had been receiving his salary while in treatment.