Sports and Scores
 

MLB star Ryan Braun suspended for drug violations

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

By RONALD BLUM


Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) 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 Milwaukee Brewers star 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.

"For these guys still to be involved with this stuff just baffles me," Miami 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."

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced Braun's penalty, citing the outfielder for unspecified "violations" of both baseball's drug program and labor contract. Braun will miss the Milwaukee Brewers' final 65 games without pay, costing him about $3 million of his $8.5 million salary. With the Brewers in last place in the NL Central, they aren't likely to have any playoff games for him to miss.

"I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed," Braun said. "I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love."

Under the agreement reached by MLB and the players' association the specifics of Braun's admission were not made public.

A person familiar with the deal, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized, said 50 games of the penalty were connected to Biogenesis. The additional 15 games stemmed from Braun's actions during the grievance that overturned his positive test from October 2011. The suspension will count as a first violation of the drug program, the person said.

"He's guilty. You don't accept a deal unless you're guilty," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "And it's disappointing. It's another black eye for our game. I know this game is very resilient, and there's been a lot of scandals over the years, but you get tired of it."

Union head Michael Weiner said last week that arbitration hearings for players contesting suspensions likely would not start until September, which would delay any penalty until next season. But he also indicated the union would urge players to make a deal and get a suspension over with if there was strong evidence of guilt.

"I am deeply gratified to see Ryan taking this bold step," Weiner said in a statement. "It vindicates the rights of all players under the joint drug program. It is good for the game that Ryan will return soon to continue his great work both on and off the field."

Braun's acceptance of the suspension marks a 180-degree turnaround from his defiant spring training news conference in Phoenix last year, after his 50-game ban was overturned.

"We won," he said then, "because the truth is on my side. The truth is always relevant, and at the end of the day, the truth prevailed."

The 29-year-old Braun was hitting .298 with nine homers and 38 RBIs this year, slowed by a thumb injury that limited him to one game between June 9 and Friday. He was at Miller Park before Monday's game against San Diego and addressed the Brewers, then left without speaking to reporters.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin spoke with Braun but wouldn't divulge details of the discussion.

"I'm disappointed. He's a very important player to our organization and to the ballclub and to our performance on the field," Melvin said.

Braun met with MLB investigators in late June. Baseball's probe was boosted when Anthony Bosch, who ran Biogenesis, agreed last month to cooperate with the sport's investigators.

The suspension is the latest in a string of high-profile drug cases across sports. Cyclist Lance Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner, ended years of denials in January, admitting he doped to win. Positive tests were disclosed this month involving sprinters Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson.

By serving the entire penalty this year, Braun gains a slight monetary advantage. His salary increases to $10 million next year, when a 65-game suspension would cost him about $500,000 more.

"We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions," Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president for economics and league affairs, said in a statement. "We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter. When Ryan returns, we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field."

Negotiations over penalties for other players haven't begun, according to a second person familiar with the probe, also speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

Rodriguez acknowledged using PEDs while with Texas from 2001-03 but has denied taking them since.

A three-time AL MVP, Rodriguez has been sidelined all season following January hip surgery and was hoping to be activated this week. A quadriceps injury developed while he played at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and caused him to remain on the disabled list. He is not expected at the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa, Fla., until Wednesday.

Braun became the latest star tripped up by baseball's drug rules.

The sport was criticized for allowing bulked-up sluggers to set power records in the 1990s and only started testing in 2003. Since then, testing and penalties have become more stringent and last year San Francisco's Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games, just weeks after he was voted MVP of the All-Star game.

Four All-Stars this year have been linked in media reports to Biogenesis: Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera, Oakland pitcher Bartolo Colon and Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta.

Other players tied to Biogenesis in media reports include Melky Cabrera, now with the Toronto Blue Jays, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and Seattle catcher Jesus Montero.

"I guess this gives an example to the kids what not to do," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said.

---

AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco, AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Arlington, Texas, AP freelance writers Mark Didtler in Tampa, Fla., Joe DiGiovanni in Milwaukee, and Mike Kelly and Jack Etkin in Denver contributed to this report.

Updated July 22, 2013

? © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Audio On Demand

It Is What It Is Cast: Lo…

It Is What It Is Cast: Logan Mankins, the offensive line, and Brandon Spikes' guarantee

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Christopher Price discuss Logan Mankins' breakdown of the offensive line and how it will look without Dante Scarnecchia. They also discussed Mankins' rebuttal to Brandon Spikes.

It Is What It Is Cast: Bill Parcells and Patriots Hall of Fame

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price discuss Bill Parcells' Patriots Hall of Fame candidacy.

CSNNE's Tom E. Curran Reports From NFL Owners Meetings

Tom Curran calls the show to discuss the Vince Wilfork contract situation. After texting with Vince this morning, Curran says that Vince's camp is possibly trying to put the "genie back in the lamp" and that the possibility of the Pro Bowl DT returning to the team has improved.

Celtics President Danny A…

Celtics President Danny Ainge with Dale and Holley 4-17-14

We wrap up the Celtics season by speaking with Celtics president Danny Ainge about this past season and the team's future.

Wyc Grousbeck, Celtics Owner: Reflects on the Boston Marathon tragedy 4-15-4

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck joins Mut and Merloni to discuss and reflect on the Boston Marathon Bombings a year later.

Jackie MacMullan, ESPN Boston, on the Celtics, 4-10-14

Jackie MacMullan talks some Celtics with Mut and Merloni as the season is winding down and the team is positioned to have a high draft pick.

Joe and Dave postgame wit…

Joe and Dave postgame with David Ross 04-17-14

Dave O'Brien and Joe Castiglione talk with Red Sox catcher, David Ross, who had the go-ahead RBI tonight as the Red Sox beat the White Sox behind a brilliant pitching performance from Jon Lester.

Dave O'Brien with Dale and Holley - 4-17-14

Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien checks in live from Chicago for our weekly chat about the state of the Sox.

Red Sox Manager John Farrell with Dale and Holley

We discuss the Red Sox early season woes with manager John Farrell, as well as his views and faith in MLB's new instant replay system, and the continuity in the Sox outfield.

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sport…

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports, Previews Bruins-Red Wings 4-18-14

Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joins the program to talk about the creativity of Red Wings coach Mike Babcock as well as the potential for physical play in the series.

Shawn Thornton calls in on gameday 4-18-14

Shawn Thornton discussed how he prepares on gameday in the postseason.

Jack Edwards with Dale and Holley 4-17-14

We preview Red Wings-Bruins with the great Jack Edwards of NESN.

Scott Stella on his buddy…

Scott Stella on his buddy Mark Fucarile 4-18-14

Scott talked about the fantastic E 60 documentary Dream On and how his friend is doing.

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: Chelsea is pregnant 4-18-14

The top of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys discussed Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy.

Shawn Thornton calls in on gameday 4-18-14

Shawn Thornton discussed how he prepares on gameday in the postseason.

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sport…

Pierre McGuire, NBC Sports, Previews Bruins-Red Wings 4-18-14

Pierre McGuire of NBC Sports joins the program to talk about the creativity of Red Wings coach Mike Babcock as well as the potential for physical play in the series.

Bruins heavy favorites going into first round Series against the Red Wings

Mut and TC discuss how almost every national hockey writer is picking the Bruins to beat Detroit. Will the Bruins be too confident?

Mut and Merloni Previewing Playoff Hockey 4-18-14

Mut and TC preview the Bruins first round match up against Detroit Red Wings

Dale and Holley with DJ B…

Dale and Holley with DJ Bean : Complete Bruins-Wings game 1 preview and analysis

We get you ready for Bruins game one of round one vs the Detroit Red Wings, with DJ Bean from WEEI.com

Dale and Holley's Four at Four - Title Town Edition - 4-18-14

We tackle four topics all revolving around the most recent runs to championships in Boston, and misnomers like Title Town for Green Bay or Hockey Town for Detroit.

Jack Edwards previews Red Wings and Bruins Round 1 with Dale and Holley 4-17-14

We preview Red Wings-Bruins with the great Jack Edwards of NESN.

Rick Middleton joins Plan…

Rick Middleton joins Planet Mikey

Nifty jumps on the Planet for an hour.

Red Sox lose to the Orioles 2-1 on Opening Day

Lou Merloni did play-by-play with Joe Castiglione today and then joined The Planet Mikey Show to talk about what went wrong, and a few things that went right as the Red Sox started their campaign to defend their World Series title.

Chris Price joins John Ryder to talk the Patriots' newest acquisition

WEEI.com's Chris Price joins John Ryder and Chris Villani on Planet Mikey to discuss the signing of Revis Island

Pod Man Rush: DJ Bean and…

Pod Man Rush: DJ Bean and Greg Wyshynski on Bruins-Red Wings

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports joins DJ to break down the first-round matchup between the Bruins and Red Wings. Also discussed is Zdeno Chara's Norris candidacy, transparency with voting for the NHL awards and whether the Canadiens will get out of the first round.

Minor Details Ep. 79: The meaning of winning in the minors with Carlos Febles, Evan Lepler

The Red Sox' High-A minor league team in Salem recently had a 16-game winning streak that spanned two seasons. So what? From the standpoint of making prospects better and fostering player development, does that matter? Salem manager Carlos Febles (who managed Salem for the end of their winning streak, but who was also in charge of a 50-87 Single-A Greenville team in 2013) and Salem radio play-by-play man Evan Lepler discuss -- while also touching on a number of prospects in search of the next Earl Weaver and Vinegar Bend Mizell.

WEEI WrestleCast: Wrestlemania 30 recap

Scott and Ben recap WrestleMania 30 and talk about the death of the Ultimate Warrior.

Sam Kennedy on the state …

Sam Kennedy on the state of the Red Sox 4-17-14

Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy joined the show to discuss the state of the Sox and MLB.

More from this show

Jeff Bauman on his recove…

Jeff Bauman on his recovery 4-17-14

Jeff Bauman joined the show to discuss his recovery over the past year.

More from this show

Ty Law, Patriots legend: …

Ty Law, Patriots legend: On being a finalist for Hall of Fame, 4-17-14

Ty Law joins Mut and Christian Fauria to discuss being a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame, the way the game is officiated now, and Darrelle Revis.

More from this show

Sox win in extra innings …

Sox win in extra innings 4-17-14

The guys opened the show by discussing the Sox 14th inning win over the White Sox.

More from this show

Buster Olney, ESPN: Sox c…

Buster Olney, ESPN: Sox clubhouse unhappy with Lester offer, 4-16-14

Buster Olney joined Mut and Merloni to discuss the Lester contract offer and the trickle-down effect in the clubhouse, the defense of Xander Bogaerts, and the slow start

More from this show

Weei Writers