Baseball Fires Arbitrator Who Overturned Braun Drug Suspension

Major League Baseball fired Shyam Das, the arbitrator who overturned Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun’s drug suspension this year, and rescinded a drug-related penalty against a minor-league player.

Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney, who confirmed Das’s dismissal, declined yesterday to comment on a reason for the move.

Das had been baseball’s permanent arbitrator since 1999. Baseball’s labor agreement says arbitrators can be removed by the league or its players association at any time with written notice.

Braun, the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player, received a 50-game suspension last year for violating baseball’s drug rules. The suspension was overturned in February by a three-person arbitration panel consisting of Das and one representative each from MLB and the MLBPA.

Das had the deciding vote in the panel’s 2-1 decision, which Braun said resulted from the test taker’s mishandling of his urine sample.

Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president for labor relations, said in a statement following that decision that “Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”

MLB officials announced yesterday that the 100-game drug suspension of Eliezer Alfonzo, a catcher in the Colorado Rockies’ organization, had been rescinded because “his suspension raised issues that were nearly identical to those resolved in the arbitration involving Ryan Braun.”

“It is not anticipated that any other future cases will be impacted by the circumstances raised in the grievances of these two players,” baseball officials said in a statement.

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