- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - The person who collected Ryan Braun’s urine sample that tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone said he followed the collection program’s protocol.

Dino Laurenzi Jr. issued a statement Tuesday confirming he handled the sample submitted following a playoff game on Oct. 1. He says he has been a collector for Comprehensive Drug Testing since 2005 and has taken more than 600 samples for Major League Baseball’s drug-testing program.

“At no point did I tamper in any way with the samples,” Laurenzi said.

Laurenzi’s name emerged last week after the NL MVP’s 50-game suspension was overturned, making Braun the first big leaguer to successfully challenge a drug-related penalty in a grievance.

Braun was not available for comment Tuesday at the Brewers’ spring training camp in Phoenix. Asked for reaction to Laurenzi’s statement, Milwaukee outfielder Corey Hart declined comment.

Laurenzi said he stored Braun’s sample in his basement in accordance with CDT’s protocol because there was “no FedEx office located within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship packages that day or Sunday.”

Braun, however, has said at least five FedEx locations within 5 miles were open until 9 p.m. and there also was a 24-hour location.

Laurenzi said the operating procedure is to “safeguard” the samples at home until FedEx can ship the sample to the lab.

“There have been other occasions when I have had to store samples in my home for at least one day, all without incident,” he said.

Laurenzi added that he had “performed my job duties with integrity and professionalism, and have done so with respect to this matter and all other collections in which I have participated.”

He said he issued the statement “to set the record straight.”

In his statement, Laurenzi said he graduated from Wisconsin in 1983 and held master’s degrees from North Carolina and Loyola University of Chicago. He said he is now the full-time director of rehabilitation services at a health care facility.

Laurenzi said he was a member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, had worked as an athletic trainer and done volunteer work with Olympic athletes.

Laurenzi said he had collected samples for MLB in four different years and had done collections for other professional sports leagues.

Last week, Braun said he was the “victim” of a “fatally flawed” system.

“There are a lot of things that we heard about the collection process, the collector and some other people involved in the process that have been concerning to us,” he said. “But as I’ve dealt with the situation, I know what it’s like to be wrongly accused of something, so for me to wrongly accuse somebody wouldn’t help.”

MLB had no comment, and referred instead to its statement from last week:

“The extremely experienced collector in Mr. Braun’s case acted in a professional and appropriate manner. He handled Mr. Braun’s sample consistent with instructions issued by our jointly retained collection agency,” it said.

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