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Tag:Ryan Braun
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:36 am
 

Cubs players say they trust Braun's collector

Jeff BakerBy C. Trent Rosecrans

During his press conference following his successful appeal of a 50-game suspension, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun tried to cast doubt on specimen collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. Laurenzi later released a statement defending himself, then Thursday, Braun's lawyer shot back.

Laurenzi, though, doesn't just collect samples from the Brewers, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Laurenzi also collects samples from the Cubs. And while Braun has called Laurenzi's motives into doubt, several Cubs told the Sun-Times that they trust Laurenzi.

"Just from knowing Dino the three years I've been here, he's been nothing but professional," Cubs infielder Jeff Baker told Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times. "He's been very, very thorough. I have no concerns and no qualms."

Alfonso Soriano also gave his thumbs up to Laurenzi.

"I'm not worried that it's the same guy," Soriano told the newspaper. "I'm not worried because I know what I take. It doesn't matter who takes the sample. If you don't take nothing, he can take [the specimen] home for a week, and nothing will come out."

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:30 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 5:31 pm
 

Braun's attorney responds to sample collector

By Matt Snyder

Since the sample collector released a statement Wednesday about the decision that Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun won't face suspension for his positive drug test, it was only a matter of time before the Braun camp replied.

Braun wins appeal
And it has. Here is a statement released by Braun's attorney, David Cornwell:

“Ryan Braun presented a winning defense in the forum that counted. The landmark decision in Ryan's favor was based on the evidence and the plain meaning of the words in baseball’s Joint Drug Program. The collector’s attempt to re-litigate his conduct is inappropriate, and his efforts will only be persuasive to those who do not understand the evidence or the rules. Ryan Braun was properly vindicated. Both Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association should be applauded because their Joint Program worked.”

Now that everyone has said his piece, hopefully it's time to get past everything and start looking forward to the 2012 season. Braun won his appeal, he won't be suspended and that's final.

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Posted on: February 28, 2012 2:17 pm
 

Braun's sample collector denies tampering

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Last week Ryan Braun held a press conference to tell his side of his positive test, casting doubt and innuendo on the collector of his sample. He didn't name Dino Laurenzi Jr., but his name came out anyway shortly after Braun's press conference.

On Tuesday, Laurenzi released a statement:
On February 24th, Ryan Braun stated during his press conference that "there were a lot of things that we learned about the collector, about the collection process, about the way that the entire thing worked that made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened." Shortly thereafter, someone who had intimate knowledge of the facts of this case released my name to the media. I am issuing this statement to set the record straight.

I am a 1983 graduate of the University of Wisconsin and have received Master Degrees from the University of North Carolina and Loyola University of Chicago. My full-time job is the director of rehabilitation services at a health care facility. In the past, I have worked as a teacher and an athletic trainer, including performing volunteer work with Olympic athletes. I am a member of both the National Athletic Trainers' Association and the Wisconsin Athletic Trainers' Association.  
   
I have been a drug collector for Comprehensive Drug Testing since 2005 and have been performing collections for Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program since that time. I have performed over 600 collections for MLB and also have performed collections for other professional sports leagues. I have performed post-season collections for MLB in four separate seasons involving five different clubs.  
   
On October 1, 2011, I collected samples from Mr. Braun and two other players. The CDT collection team for that day, in addition to me, included three chaperones and a CDT coordinator.  One of the chaperones was my son, Anthony. Chaperones do not have any role in the actual collection process, but rather escort the player to the collection area.   
   
I followed the same procedure in collecting Mr. Braun's sample as I did in the hundreds of other samples I collected under the Program. I sealed the bottles containing Mr. Braun's A and B samples with specially-numbered, tamper-resistant seals, and Mr. Braun signed a form certifying, among other things, that the specimens were capped and sealed in his presence and that the specimen identification numbers on the top of the form matched those on the seals.  

I placed the two bottles containing Mr. Braun's samples in a plastic bag and sealed the bag. I then placed the sealed bag in a standard cardboard Specimen Box which I also sealed with a tamper-resistant, correspondingly-numbered seal placed over the box opening. I then placed Mr. Braun's Specimen Box, and the Specimen Boxes containing the samples of the two other players, in a Federal Express Clinic Pack. None of the sealed Specimen Boxes identified the players. I completed my collections at Miller Park at approximately 5:00 p.m. Given the lateness of the hour that I completed my collections, there was no FedEx office located within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship packages that day or Sunday.

Therefore, the earliest that the specimens could be shipped was Monday, October 3. In that circumstance, CDT has instructed collectors since I began in 2005 that they should safeguard the samples in their homes until FedEx is able to immediately ship the sample to the laboratory, rather than having the samples sit for one day or more at a local FedEx office. The protocol has been in place since 2005 when I started with CDT and there have been other occasions when I have had to store samples in my home for at least one day, all without incident.  

The FedEx Clinic Pack containing Mr. Braun's samples never left my custody. Consistent with CDT's instructions, I brought the FedEx Clinic Pack containing the samples to my home. Immediately upon arriving home, I placed the FedEx Clinic Pack in a Rubbermaid container in my office which is located in my basement.   My basement office is sufficiently cool to store urine samples. No one other than my wife was in my home during the period in which the samples were stored. The sealed Specimen Boxes were not removed from the FedEx Clinic Pack during the entire period in which they were in my home. On Monday, October 3, I delivered the FedEx Clinic Pack containing Mr. Braun's Specimen Box to a FedEx office for delivery to the laboratory on Tuesday, October 4. At no point did I tamper in any way with the samples. It is my understanding that the samples were received at the laboratory with all tamper-resistant seals intact. 
   
This situation has caused great emotional distress for me and my family. I have worked hard my entire life, have 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. Neither I nor members of my family will make any further public comments on this matter. I request that members of the media, and baseball fans, whatever their views on this matter, respect our privacy. And I would like to sincerely thank my family and friends for their overwhelming support through this difficult time. Any future inquiries should be directed to my attorney Boyd Johnson of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.
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Posted on: February 26, 2012 10:19 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 9:31 pm
 

Spring primer: Milwaukee Brewers



By Matt Snyder


The 2011 NL Central champions likely knew they were going to lose one of their superstars heading into the offseason, so it wasn't huge news to Milwaukee when Prince Fielder signed with the Tigers. But when news broke in December that Ryan Braun was facing a 50-game suspension, it was a disaster. And then just a few days ago, Braun was exonerated and Brewer Nation could breathe a sigh of collective relief. The net result has to be momentum heading into spring, so maybe the Braun test was a blessing in disguise? Otherwise they're just reeling from losing Prince. Anyway, let's dive in.

Scott Miller's camp report: Gamel to replace Prince? | Likes, dislikes

Major additions: 3B Aramis Ramirez, SS Alex Gonzalez, OF Norichika Aoki
Major departures: 1B Prince Fielder, SS Yuniesky Betancourt, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Takashi Saito, IF/OF Jerry Hairston

Probable lineup
1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Nyjer Morgan, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B
5. Corey Hart, RF
6. Mat Gamel, 1B
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Jonathan Lucroy, C

Probable rotation
1. Yovani Gallardo
2. Zack Greinke
3. Shaun Marcum
4. Randy Wolf
5. Chris Narveson

Back-end bullpen
Closer: John Axford
Set-up: Francisco Rodriguez

Important bench players

OF Aoki, OF Carlos Gomez, IF Brooks Conrad

Prospect to watch
It's gotta be Wily Peralta, a 22-year-old starting pitcher in Triple-A. He only made five Triple-A starts last season, but he was impressive -- going 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 40 strikeouts in 31 innings. Peralta will obviously begin the season in Triple-A, but if we get into June or July and Peralta is dominating while Narveson is struggling -- or, obviously, injury strikes to any member of the rotation -- we could well see the right-hander at the back-end of the rotation.

Fantasy sleeper: Mat Gamel
"Why isn't there more hype in Fantasy? For one thing, Gamel is already 26, so he doesn't exactly qualify as a prospect anymore. For another, he hasn't impressed in his brief major-league opportunities so far. To be fair, though, the Brewers haven't cared to give him the benefit of the doubt, unwilling to live through his defensive lapses at third base for no more than prospective production. With him at first that's not an issue anymore. He'll have all the time he needs to get comfortable and if his minor-league numbers are any indication he'll be an impact player as a result." - Scott White [Full Brewers team fantasy preview]

Fantasy bust: Aramis Ramirez
"He turns 34 this year. A player that age with that injury history will get hurt at some point and if his numbers begin to decline along with it he could easily drop out of the top 12 at the position. It's coming sooner than later. Why take the risk when you can land a Pablo Sandoval at about the same point in the draft?" - Scott White [Full Brewers team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Ramirez and Gamel thrive in the lineup while Gonzalez is a marked upgrade over Betancourt. Greinke and Gallardo both pitch like aces throughout the season while Marcum holds strong as one of the better middle-of-the-rotation pitchers in baseball. K-Rod and Axford form the most dominant eighth and ninth inning combo in the league, too. All this would have the Brewers winning their second consecutive division title and making a run at their first World Series title in history.

Pessimistic outlook
Ramirez starts slow and never recovers, as he's booed consistently by the hometown fans who miss Fielder. Gamel flops at first base, too, leaving the Brewers with a very lackluster bottom-third of the lineup. Greinke falters, Wolf ages quickly and no one can really nail down the fifth spot in the rotation. The best the Brewers can do to overcome these woes is finish fourth, as the Reds and Cardinals compete for the NL Central while the Pirates move into third.

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Posted on: February 25, 2012 12:21 pm
 

MLB's Braun response gets Star Wars treatment



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Major League Baseball's response to the Ryan Braun decision sounded to many as a bit, shall we say, harsh?

One Twitter user, @FauxFrankWren, seemed to think the statement released by reminded him of the strong-armed tactics of a dictatorship from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.



Shyam Das does sound like a name only George Lucas could invent -- I wonder if he'll get his own action figure anytime soon.

Speaking of action figures, I'm not sure why Lucas didn't say anything in the late 90s when Luke Skywalker wasn't looking exactly natural.



Hat-tip: Big League Stew

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:15 pm
 

Video: Braun discusses winning his appeal

By Matt Snyder

Friday, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun came to spring camp just one day after learning his appeal was upheld and he wouldn't have to serve a 50-game suspension for his positive drug test last October. And he came out swinging.

Here's a portion of the press conference:



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Posted on: February 24, 2012 3:01 pm
 

Victor Conte unimpressed with Ryan Braun

By Matt Snyder

Many were impressed by exhonorated Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun's press conference Friday. Victor Conte wasn't one of those people.

Conte founded the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative ("BALCO") and served time in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute steroids and money laundering charges back in 2005. And he's not buying what Braun is selling.

Ever since the appeal decision was reported Thursday afternoon, Conte's been firing off tweet after tweet (@VictorConte) in an attempt to make everyone believe that he knows Braun used a "fast-acting testosterone." Here are a few examples:

• "My opinion. Floyd Landis case like Braun case. A & B samples w/ elevated T/E ratio. CIR confirms 'synthetic' testosterone. Lots of smoke"

• "[CIR confirmation is] Carbon Isotope Ratio tests for synthetic vs natural testosterone. Nail in coffin."

• "I believe fast acting testosterone use is rampant in MLB. Even 4 to 1 T/E ratio is easy to beat. CIR screening is needed on all samples"

• [in reply to someone calling him a "joke"] "Maybe the truth about the Braun case is the joke"

• "My opinion. Braun's positive test for testosterone was not overturned. Simply a procedure error was made by MLB. Braun tested positive."

There's more, but I'd rather not continue to give this guy his due. I found the last one I listed especially funny, as he stated that "Braun tested positive" as if that was some sort of revelation. Of course Braun tested positive. That wasn't in question. Braun even discussed that his test came up as positive. The question was whether or not the sample was a legitimate, untainted sample. Conte seems to believe he has all the information here -- as if he was in the lab -- and when someone uninvolved with the process acts like the ultimate authority on the matter, that always feels a bit much for me. I'm not going to pretend I know exactly what happened, but I do know a third-party arbitrator saw all the evidence and sided with a player for the first time ever. Conte believes he knows better. 

Hey, to each his own. Feel free to give as much or as little credibility to Conte's tweets as you wish. We're simply passing them along.

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:11 pm
 

CBS News legal analyst discusses Braun case

By Matt Snyder

Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun won his appeal of a positive drug test Thursday, and Friday Jack Ford, CBS News legal analyst, joined the Tim Brando Show to discuss the controversial outcome of the Ryan Braun PED appeal case.

Here is the clip.



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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com