NEW YORK — National League MVP Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension was overturned Thursday by baseball arbitrator Shyam Das, the first time in 13 cases that a baseball player successfully challenged a drug-related penalty in a grievance.
The Brewers outfielder will report today to spring training.
Braun's urine tested positive in October for elevated testosterone. He has denied violating baseball's drug agreement.
According to reports, Braun, 28, prevailed not because of questions about his test sample but because of the procedure behind the test. Braun's urine sample wasn't shipped immediately after collection, calling into question the sample's chain of custody.
The urine-sample collector did not immediately ship the sample, as is the protocol, because he thought the FedEx outpost was closed. He kept the sample in his home, in a cool place, and shipped it the next day.
"I am very pleased and relieved by (the) decision," Braun said in a statement. "It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side."
MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred said management "vehemently disagrees" with Das' decision.
Das, baseball's independent arbitrator since 2000, sided with Players Association executive director Michael Weiner. MLB executive vice president of labor relations and human resources Rob Manfred ruled to uphold the failed test.
beltran will live up to promise: Carlos Beltran plans to pay Mets left-hander and former teammate Jonathan Niese in person for a $10,000 nose job. Beltran, now with the Cardinals, said he'll pay Niese when St. Louis plays the Mets in spring training. Beltran denied reports that he recommended surgery, but he said he offered to foot the bill if Niese decided to have a deviated septum corrected, which Niese did in October.
blue jays: Shortstop Omar Vizquel, who turns 45 in April, says he will likely retire after this season. The 11-time Gold Glove winner is in camp on a minor-league deal. He said he'd like to be a manager.
braves: Right-hander Tommy Hanson returned to camp, feeling much better after suffering a concussion Monday when his car blew a tire on a highway and rolled down an embankment.
dodgers: Joe Torre's group has dropped out of bidding for the bankrupt team because owner Frank McCourt won't include the parking lots outside the stadium.
pirates: President Frank Coonelly was charged with drunken driving, driving the wrong way, careless driving and driving with a blood-alcohol content of at least twice the state's legal limit of .08 after an incident Dec. 22 in suburban Pittsburgh. He said in a statement he takes full responsibility for "irresponsible and wrong'' actions.
red sox: Reliever Bobby Jenks said complications from a back procedure in December led to a potentially life-threatening infection that required an emergency followup surgery. "I don't know whose fault it was, but there was an error done inside," said Jenks, who has recovered and is looking forward to the season. General manager Ben Cherington said the team is looking into the circumstances of the first surgery.