Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Brewers' Braun suspended for rest of season

NEW YORK — The first star to fall in baseball's latest drug investigation is one of its biggest: Ryan Braun.

The 2011 National League MVP was suspended without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason Monday, the start of sanctions involving players reportedly tied to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.

The Brewers leftfielder accepted the 65-game ban, 15 games more than the one he avoided last year when an arbitrator overturned his positive test for elevated testosterone because the urine sample had been improperly handled.

"I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions," he said in a statement.

Braun, injured Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and more than a dozen players were targeted by MLB following a report by Miami New Times in January that they had been connected with Biogenesis of America, a now-closed anti-aging clinic.

Major-league managers supported the suspension.

"It's obviously the right thing to do, and if more of that happens based on good evidence, then I'm all for it," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

"For these guys still to be involved with this stuff just baffles me," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "The education's there and everybody knows what you can and can't take. It baffles me that this continues to be a black cloud over the game.

"I know Major League Baseball's done a great job of cleaning up the game and the testing policy and all that. And it's working. But at the same time, too, it seems like we'll go through a lull and then, bam, here comes another guy that gets suspended. It's got to stop."

Commissioner Bud Selig announced Braun's penalty, citing the outfielder for multiple unspecified "violations" of baseball's drug program and labor contract. The suspension will cost Braun about $3 million of his $8.5 million salary.

Under the agreement reached by MLB and the players' association, the specifics of Braun's admission won't be made public.

Fallout from the suspension made a direct hit into the Yankees' clubhouse, where players who have known Rodriguez longest said they would support him regardless of what may occur.

"I don't know what happened with Alex," closer Mariano Rivera said. "He is my teammate, and I have to support him 100 percent. So I don't know, if something different happens, we need to see. The good thing about this is we are cleaning the game, and that's the way it should be. And I think this is a message for whoever tries to do this again. They are going to be caught."

Braun timeline

Events leading up to Monday's suspension:

. October 2011: Braun tests positive for elevated testosterone levels. The result is not made public.

. December 2011: ESPN reveals Braun's positive test from two months ago. The Brewers slugger faces a 50-game suspension, but is appealing it. His representatives say "there are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence."

. February 2012: Braun's suspension is overturned by baseball arbitrator Shyam Das, the first time a baseball player successfully challenges a drug-related penalty in a grievance. During the hearings, questions are raised about the chain of custody for Braun's urine sample. It was collected on Saturday, Oct. 1, but not sent to the lab until Monday. Braun reports to spring training.

. March 2012: After the sample collector releases a statement defending his actions and saying that he never tampered with the sample, Braun's lawyer criticizes the statement by Dino Laurenzi Jr., saying that Braun was "properly vindicated."

. February 2013: Braun's name appears in records from the Biogenesis of America LLC clinic, a defunct business near Miami that allegedly provided performance-enhancing substances to several players. The original report about the clinic was published by Miami New Times, and Braun's tie to the clinic was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

. June 2013: Braun goes on the disabled list because of a persistent sore right thumb.

. July 2013: After missing 26 games, Braun returns, but is ineffective in three games before accepting a suspension for the rest of the season. He finishes his 2013 year with nine homers, four steals and a .298 average in 61 games.

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