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Drug test collector fires back at accusation

MILWAUKEE — Dino I. Laurenzi Jr., the collector at the center of the Ryan Braun drug-testing controversy, said Tuesday he followed proper procedures in storing test samples in the basement of his home.

"At no point did I tamper in any way with the samples," Laurenzi said in a statement issued through a New York attorney.

Laurenzi, 52, a director of rehabilitation services for United Hospital System in Kenosha, Wis., said he wanted to "set the record straight" in a statement in which he defended his professional credentials and provided details of drug testing in the modern age of baseball.

"I followed the same procedure in collecting Mr. Braun's sample as I did in the hundreds of other samples I collected under the (drug-testing) Program," said Laurenzi, a collector for Comprehensive Drug Testing since 2005.

The statement amounted to a return volley against Braun, who won an appeal over a positive drug test and avoided a 50-game suspension. The appeal turned on the issue of how his urine sample was handled.

Friday, Braun told reporters: "There were a lot of things that we learned about the collector, about the collection process, about the way the entire thing worked that made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened."

Braun declined to comment Tuesday.

MISSING THE CAPTAIN: Catcher Jason Varitek is retiring, and even though it was expected for much of the winter, it doesn't make it any easier to take for the Red Sox.

"It's something that we are used to it, seeing Tek walking around and doing his thing," DH David Ortiz said. "Been a while since you walk in here and the first person you see is Tek. Walking in and not seeing him, it's like something unexpected.

"Watching Tek and this decision, hopefully he feels good about it. Hopefully he's being honest with himself. Man, I mean we're going to miss him."

ASTROS: Right-hander Brett Myers, last season's opening-day starter, will be the closer this season, manager Brad Mills said. Myers, 31, started 34 games last season and went 7-14 with a 4.46 ERA.

A'S: Manager Bob Melvin named right-hander Brandon McCarthy his opening day starter.

BRAVES: First baseman Freddie Freeman is expected to miss at least two weeks after injuring his right knee.

MARINERS: Centerfielder Franklin Gutierrez, who played only 92 games in an injury-plagued 2011 season, left camp after injuring his shoulder.

NATIONALS: Left-hander Sammy Solis, one of the team's top prospects, is scheduled to have elbow ligament replacement surgery next week.

ROYALS: Left-hander Danny Duffy agreed to a one-year contract for $487,750.

TIGERS: Centerfielder Austin Jackson is changing his swing, forcing himself to keep his front leg down after 181 strikeouts last season as a leadoff hitter.

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Drug test collector fires back at accusation 02/28/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:18pm]
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