Posted on: December 10, 2011 7:55 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 4:39 pm

Ryan Braun fails MLB drug test

Ryan Braun

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Ryan Braun, the National League MVP, has failed a drug test given to him in October and could face a 50-game suspension if his appeal is denied, ESPN.com's Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn report. CBSSports.com has confirmed Braun tested positive, however a source tells CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler that while the positive test was for a banned substance, it was not for a perfromance-enhancing drug.

Once Braun was informed he had tested positive, he requested a second test and that one came back negative, the source told Knobler.

It should be noted Manny Ramirez and Edinson Volquez did not specifically test positive for a performance-enhancing drug, but for a male fertility drug that can also be used to mask raised testosterone levels.

Major League Baseball has not announced the positive test because Braun is disputing the result. MLB doesn't announce positive tests until all appeals have been heard and denied. Sources tell CBSSports.com that a decision will not come soon.

"It's B.S.," Braun told USA Today's Bob Nightengale

Braun also told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he wanted to hold a press conference on Saturday, but was advised against it.

"I can't wait to get that opportunity," Braun texted Haudricourt. "This is all B.S. I am completely innocent."  

A spokesman for Braun issued this statement through Braun's agent: "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. While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated."

Braun was tested during the playoffs and was notified, according to the ESPN report, later in October.

Ryan Braun

The report says Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone, which was later revealed to be synthetic. MLB has asked the World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Montreal to perform a secondary test. 

A report in the New York Daily News quotes a source as saying Braun's testosterone level was "insanely high" and "twice the level of the highest test ever taken.

In April, Braun signed an extension with the Brewers through the 2020 season worth $105 million.

Braun beat the Dodgers' Matt Kemp for MVP last month, finishing with 20 of the 32 first-place votes and 388 overall points to Kemps' 332. Braun's teammate, Prince Fielder, finished third.

Braun would be the first standing MVP to test positive for PEDs, although several others -- Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Miguel Tejada, Jason Giambi, Ken Caminiti and Jose Canseco -- have either admitted steroid use or been implicated in steroid use. Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, Braun's name will always be lumped in with those players, vindicated or not. Whispers and suspicions have kept Jeff Bagwell out of the Hall of Fame and Braun will have a black mark against him in this positive test. Even if exonerated, there will be doubts because Braun plays for the Brewers, the team formerly owned by commissioner Bud Selig.

Several players before him, including Ramirez and Volquez, have claimed fertility drugs triggered a positive test, but both served their suspensions anyway. Rafael Palmeiro blamed his positive test on a "vitamin B12" shot given to him by Tejada. 

If Braun's appeal is unsuccesful, he'd be the 10th player to receive a 50-game ban under the current testing system, joining Ramirez, Volquez, Yusaku Iriki, Guillermo Mota, Jason Grimsley, Juan Salas, Dan Serafini, Eliezer Alfonzo and J.C. Romero

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Posted on: November 19, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 6:48 pm

Report: New CBA to include HGH testing

Bud SeligBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement will include blood test for human growth hormone will be part of the next Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement, the New York Times' Michael S. Schmidt reports.

If baseball does indeed test for HGH, it will be the first of the major professional sports in the United States to do so. Players who test positive for HGH will face the same punishment as current steroid users face, a 50-game suspension for the first-time failure. Testing would begin in February.

Baseball started blood testing in the minor leagues in 2010.

The NFL attempted to add blood testing for HGH in its last CBA, but was unable to do so.

The Associated Press also reports the new free agent compensation system will be in effect for several of the current free agent players, although not for the top players, such as Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Teams signing some Type A free agents will not be penalized a draft pick. FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweeted this should help the top free-agent relievers on the market, such as Heath Bell and Ryan Madson. Rosenthal notes that teams losing a Type A free agent will still get compensated with draft picks.

In addition, the minimum salary for 2012 will be $480,000. 

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 6:34 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 6:38 pm

Ramirez willing to serve ban to play baseball


By Evan Brunell

Manny Ramirez is hoping to be reinstated to the major leagues, telling ESPN Deportes he would serve his 100-game suspension after refusing to do so in April and opting for retirement.

"I would comply with my pending sanction and I would be available for any major league team," Ramirez said. "I already informed [agent] Scott Boras of my decision to return and begin the process.

Ramirez tested positive in a drug test earlier this season as part of baseball's drug program that bands steroids, amphetamines and other performance enhancers. It was his second failed test, as he was linked to a female fertility drug in 2009 used to conceal steroid use. He served a 50-game ban that season with the Dodgers, later moving to the White Sox at the end of 2010 before signing a contract with the Rays in the offseason. When caught in April, he told baseball that he would rather retire than serve the ban. Clearly, he's changed his mind now that he's had time to reflect.

"If any team wants to sign me, I would play," Ramirez said. "If no one does, I would look to play in Japan or any other place. I was not prepared for retirement."

There are negatives that could prevent a team's interest. Ramirez would only be able to offer a maximum of 62 games out of Ramirez in production, returning in early August next season after not having played a major-league game for almost a year and a half at that point. Teams will also have to contend with Ramirez's attitude, and at this point is easily comparable to Barry Bonds and the overall distaste that pervaded Bonds so much that he eventually drew zero interest from teams despite indications he could still be an effective player.

However, drug suspensions are without pay, so the team wouldn't lose any cash in taking a lark on Ramirez, so you can expect at least one team to do so because it's a classic low-risk, low-reward system as long as the organization is comfortable with being known as the team that gave Ramirez a job after he seemingly burned every last bridge he had by leaving Tampa Bay high and dry by first breaking the rules and then leaving the team rather than serve the suspension. The Rays, whose playoff hopes are dwindling with a 2 1/2 game deficit in the wild card with a week left in the season, could have really used Ramirez's bat down the stretch even if he wouldn't have hit to the level of his glory days.

Ramirez was interested in playing for the Dominican Winter League, a stop he last played at in 1993-94, but is unable to do so because MLB has an agreement with the league. As a result, Ramirez must serve the suspension before he can participate in the DWL, and that is an impossibility for this season. Ramirez must receive permission from commissioner Bud Selig before he can join up with another club.

"I'm really interested and enthusiastic about playing baseball [in the Dominican Republic], but I can't control the future,'' Ramirez said. "Let's just wait and see what's the outcome of that meeting; it would be really sad if I'm not allowed to play.''

Even if Selig isn't predisposed to helping ManRam and no MLB team touches him with a 10-foot pole, you can bet Japan will be interested. The amount of hype around Ramirez would be large in Japan, as they would be able to see a true bona-fide MLB star play in the Japanese baseball league. Two drug suspensions or not, that would be a feather in the cap for Japanese professional ball.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 29, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 2:04 pm

Sheen used steroids for 'Major League'

Charlie Sheen

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Uh oh, Congress may investigate Hollywood now.

In a bombshell that makes you question everything you ever grew up thinking, Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn has admitted to using steroids.

From Sports Illustrated's feature on the modern-day classic, Major League, Charlie Sheen admits to his use of performance-enhancing drugs:

[L]et's just say that I was enhancing my performance a little bit. It was the only time I ever did steroids. I did them for like six or eight weeks. You can print this, I don't give a f---. My fastball went from 79 to like 85.

Two things about how this messes with the conventional wisdom on steroids:

1. If there were steroids in baseball movies in 1989, there were certainly steroids in the game.

2. It's not just the hitters who benefited from the use of steroids, the pitchers saw a difference, too. If Sheen can go from 79 to 85 on his fastball, how about a real professional pitcher?

There's also those on the other side who say steroids don't make any difference. Sheen disagrees with them.

Tony La Russa, meanwhile, continues to deny any knowledge of steroid use in baseball or movies.

Hat tip to the folks over at Big League Stew.

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