Ryan Braun, the National League’s Most Valuable Player, has the backing of Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio as he challenges a drug test result that may land him a 50-game suspension should the findings be confirmed.
“We are dealing with an incomplete set of facts and speculation,” Attanasio said in a statement on the Brewers’ website early today. “Before there is a rush to judgment, Ryan deserves the right to be heard. We are committed to supporting Ryan to get to the truth of what happened.”
Braun, a 28-year-old outfielder, is disputing the results of a sample taken during the playoffs. An initial analysis showed elevated levels of testosterone, which a subsequent examination indicated was synthetic, ESPN reported last night. Major League Baseball sought a retest from the World Anti-Doping Agency, which determined that the testosterone wasn’t produced naturally by Braun, the broadcaster said.
“There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan’s complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program,” an unidentified spokesman for Braun said in a statement to ESPN. “We are confident he will ultimately be exonerated.”
After being told of the test result, Braun asked for a second sample to be taken and tested, ESPN said. That sample was negative, which Braun’s representatives will argue throws doubt on the validity of the results on the first sample, the report said. No major league player has ever successfully challenged a failed test.
111 Runs, 33 Homers
Braun’s agent, Nez Balelo, didn’t immediately return a call to his Los Angeles office. Pat Courtney, a spokesman for MLB, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Braun, an All-Star in each of the past four years, was the 2007 NL Rookie of the Year. Last season, he led the Brewers with a .332 batting average, trailing only Jose Reyes in the NL, as Milwaukee won its first division title since 1982.
Braun drove in 111 runs and hit 33 home runs this year, the second-best performance for Milwaukee behind Prince Fielder, as the Brewers finished the season with an NL-best 185 home runs.
In April, Braun signed a five-year, $105 million contract extension that will run from 2016 to 2020.
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