Major League Baseball made a big splash Monday in its ongoing attempt to wipe the game clear of performance-enhancing drugs.
By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
Commissioner Bud Selig announced that Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, the 2011 National League MVP, was suspended without pay for the rest of the 2013 season for violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Braun, who will miss the Brewers' final 65 games and lose more than $3 million of his salary, never explicitly admitted using performance-enhancing drugs in a statement. He did, however, accept the penalty.
"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect," Braun said in the statement. "I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization."
Braun, Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, former Royal Melky Cabrera and Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz were among as many as 20 players who allegedly received performance-enhancing drugs from the now-defunct Biogenesis clinic, which had been run by Tony Bosch.
Some of the documents believed to be linked to Biogenesis were published in January by the Miami New Times. That prompted an investigation by Major League Baseball that eventually led to Braun's suspension.
Braun, who reportedly failed a PED test in 2011 but avoided a suspension due to a technicality about how his sample was handled, had denied receiving the PEDs from Biogenesis.
After avoiding the 2011 suspension, Braun vigorously denied ever taking performance-enhancing drugs. On Monday, he simply expressed remorse in his statement.
"I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed -- all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates," 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."
Yahoo Sports reported that some within baseball were upset that Braun, 29, essentially cut a deal. He has been plagued by a thumb injury that has limited him to 61 games, and the Brewers are out of the playoff race. So, while the lost salary will certainly hurt, he'll be allowed to start with a clean slate in 2014, when he is due to make $11 million. All told, he is scheduled to earn about $84 million through the 2020 season. The Brewers can't void his contract because of this violation.
Still, Braun was praised by Rob Manfred, MLB's executive vice president for economics and league affairs.
"We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions," Manfred said in a news release. "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."
Attention now turns to the others players under suspicion, especially Rodriguez, who previously admitted PED use from 2001-03. Rodriguez has yet to play this season as he recovers from hip surgery. On Sunday, he suffered a left quadriceps strain and when he'll return is unknown. It may not be until 2014, because Rodriguez may receive a longer suspension than Braun.
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