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Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension overturned
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio was pleased his best player was vindicated.
“Since joining our organization in 2005, Ryan Braun has been a model citizen and a person of character and integrity. Knowing Ryan as I do, I always believed he would succeed in his appeal,” Attanasio said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the confidentiality of the program was compromised, and we thank our fans and everyone who supported Ryan and did not rush to judgment.”
Brewers closer John Axford added on Twitter: “All I can say is that Braun has exemplary character is continuing to handle this in an unbelievable manner.”
An evidentiary hearing on Braun’s appeal was held Jan. 19-20 in New York, ending the day before the player accepted the NL MVP award at a black-tie dinner.
“We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances. I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide,” Braun said in his statement. “I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year.”
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that, after being informed of the positive result, Braun asked to have another urine test taken, and that the second test was within normal range.
Positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs have been relatively rare under the major league testing program, with just two others in 2011: Tampa Bay outfielder Manny Ramirez and Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo. Ramirez at first retired rather than face a 100-game suspension for a second positive test. Now that he wants to play again and since he missed most of last year, he will only need to serve a 50-game penalty.
“It has always been Major League Baseball’s position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline. We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less,” Manfred said. “As a part of our drug testing program, the commissioner’s office and the players’ association agreed to a neutral third-party review for instances that are under dispute. While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”
Braun hit .332 with 33 homers and 111 RBIs last year and led Milwaukee to the NL championship series, where the Brewers lost to the eventual World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Brewers are counting on his offense following the departure of Prince Fielder, who became a free agent and signed with the Detroit Tigers.
“I just did a few shirtless cartwheels to show my excitement,” Brewers teammate Corey Hart said in a text message.
Braun already was signed through 2015, but the Brewers gave him a new deal running through 2020 that added $105 million and guaranteed him a total of $145.5 million over a decade.
AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley and AP Sports Writer Howie Rumberg contributed to this report.
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