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Tag:Brewers
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:11 pm
 

CBS News legal analyst discusses Braun case

By Matt Snyder

Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun won his appeal of a positive drug test Thursday, and Friday Jack Ford, CBS News legal analyst, joined the Tim Brando Show to discuss the controversial outcome of the Ryan Braun PED appeal case.

Here is the clip.



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Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:35 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 5:26 pm
 

Braun comes out swinging, claims his innocence



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun came out swinging against the Major League Baseball drug testing process, the sample collector and the media in his first public statements since his positive drug test on October.

"I can only answer for myself," Braun said. "The program, as it applied to me, was fatally flawed. I've certainly been frustrated by the process. I've felt it's been unfair.

"Are there changes that should be made? I believe yes."

Major League Baseball executive vice president for labor relations Rob Manfred issued a statement disputing Braun's assertion.

“Our program is not ‘fatally flawed,’" Manfred said. "Changes will be made promptly to clarify the instructions provided to collectors regarding when samples should be delivered to FedEx based on the arbitrator’s decision. Neither Mr. Braun nor the MLBPA contended in the grievance that his sample had been tampered with or produced any evidence of tampering.”

Braun wins appeal
Braun did detail, however, not only when he was tested, but also casted doubt on the sample collector, noting there were 18 Federal Express offices were open until 9 p.m. in Milwaukee and even one 24-hour FedEx office. He said he was tested after a 1 p.m. game that ended at 4:15. Braun laid out his defense like a lawyer making his closing statement.

"At the end of the day the truth prevailed," he said. "I'm a victim of a process that completely broke down and failed in the way that it was applied to me in the case. As players, we're held to a standard of 100 percent perfection regarding the program, and everybody else associated with that program should be held to the same standard. We're a part of a process where you're 100 percent guilty until proven innocent. It's the opposite of the American judicial system.

In fact, Braun said he's considering legal action, citing possible legal action as a reason for not naming the sample collector.

He also shot down a rumor that he'd been treated for sexually transmitted disease, noting he'd never had an STD.

Braun came out swinging, said his performance had been measured -- that he didn't add a pound, he didn't become any faster. He also noted he already has a nine-year, guaranteed contract.

"I'd bet my life that this substance never entered my body," Braun said.

He also said he was unhappy that the test became public and that he has an idea how the news of his positive test leaked. ESPN reported his positive test -- which was supposed to remain confidential until the appeal was heard -- in December.

"I tried to handle the entire situation with honor, with integrity, with class, with dignity and with professionalism because that's who I am and that's how I've always lived my life," he said. "If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I'd be the first one to step up and I say I did it. By no means am I perfect, but if I've ever made any mistakes in my life, I've taken responsibility for my actions. I truly believe in my heart and I would bet my life that the substance never entered my body at any point."

MLB contends the leak didn't come from their end.

“With regards to the breach of confidentiality regarding this case, both the Commissioner’s Office and the MLBPA have investigated the original leak of Ryan Braun’s test, and we are convinced that the leak did not come from the Commissioner’s Office," Manfred said in a statement.

The MLB Players Association agrees.

“Our Joint Drug Program stands as strong, as accurate and as reliable as any in sport, both before and after the Braun decision," said MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner in a statement. "The breach of confidentiality associated with this matter is unfortunate but, after investigation, we are confident that it was not caused by the Commissioner’s Office, the MLBPA or anyone associated in any way with the Program. In all other respects, the appeals process worked as designed; the matter was vigorously contested and the independent and neutral arbitrator issued a decision deserving of respect by both bargaining parties."

Braun was asked about how his reputation would suffer, even after his successful appeal.

"I'm not dumb enough to pretend this is going to go away," Braun said. "I'm going to deal with this for a while. It's going to be a challenge."

"My name has been dragged through the mud as everything I've ever worked for in my life has been called into question."

Braun, who won the NL MVP after hitting .332/.397/.597 with 33 homers, 109 runs and 111 RBIs last year, is the first Major League Baseball player to have his suspension lifted by an arbitrator for a drug-related penalty. Arbitrator Shyam Das threw out Braun's ban on Thursday. Das, who has been baseball's independent arbitrator since 2000, informed the sides of his decision but did not give them a written opinion. He has 30 days to do so.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:10 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 11:34 am
 

Brewers back in NL Central mix ... on paper

By Matt Snyder

Every baseball fan has surely heard by now, considering our 24-hour Twitterverse of a news cycle, that Brewers' left fielder Ryan Braun won his appeal and will not face a 50-game suspension. There's plenty of discussion to be had on the matter from many different angles, but in this particular entry we'll focus on the 2012 NL Central race.

Had Braun been suspended, the Brewers could probably have been counted out in the NL Central. Replacing Prince Fielder and 50 games of Ryan Braun with Aramis Ramirez wasn't gonna cut it for a team that was largely dependent upon offense last season, en route to the Central division title. Replacing Fielder's production with some Ramirez and hoping for improvements in several other areas? Well, that actually sounds doable.

Then you look around the Central. On paper, we can count out the Pirates, Cubs and Astros. Obviously games aren't won on paper, otherwise the Diamondbacks would have finished last in the NL West as most expected last season. It's just that this is all we have to go on right now, and the Pirates, Cubs and Astros appear very overmatched by the Cardinals, Reds and now Brewers (again).

And right now, the Brewers have just as good a shot as any of the three. They went 96-66 last year and lost a major piece, for sure, in Fielder. But they did sign Ramirez to fill a gaping hole at third base. He can hit cleanup to protect Braun. There are other areas that can improve as well. All-Star second baseman Rickie Weeks only played 118 games last season, while Corey Hart was held to 130. If those guys can stay on the field a bit more, there's an offensive uptick. Alex Gonzalez represents a strong upgrade at shortstop over Yuniesky Betancourt (really, who wouldn't?).

Pitching-wise, the Brewers have the ability to be better as well. Improvements should be expected from Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum in their second Milwaukee season. Yovani Gallardo has become a legitimate ace. The eighth and ninth innings should be dominant, with John Axford now having established himself as a lock-down closer and Francisco Rodriguez along for the full season as the eighth-inning guy.

Braun wins appeal
If the Brewers are looking outside and hoping for the optimistic spin, it's possible. Let's try it:

• The Cardinals lost the presence of Albert Pujols from the lineup. Can Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman stay healthy while also fighting off age regression? Speaking of age, how much longer does Chris Carpenter hold up? And Adam Wainwright is coming off Tommy John surgery.

• The Reds are stronger, for sure, but they're hardly a cinch to be a great team. You could make the argument there are question marks at catcher, shortstop, third base, center field and left field. Mat Latos was a good get, but how does he deal with a hitters' park instead of spacious Petco Park as his home field?

Obviously, we could spin things in favor of the Cardinals or Reds in a similar exercise, but it's the Brewers day with the Braun announcement.

The bottom line is I'm not sure who I'll be predicting in the NL Central, but it's between the Cardinals, Reds and Brewers. A few hours ago, it was just the Cardinals and Reds in the mix. In the time it takes to snap your fingers, the Brewers were thrust into the mix. Braun is that important.

We now wait for the actual games to see if everything plays out as expected, because what the "paper" says means nothing. Still, one cannot dispute that the Brewers already have their first big victory of the 2012 season.

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 5:47 pm
 

Ryan Braun's statement about winning appeal

By Matt Snyder

Brewers star left fielder and reining NL MVP Ryan Braun won his appeal against a failed drug test Thursday. In the aftermath of the decision, Braun released a statement.

Here is the entire statement, in full (again, everything that follows is from Braun himself):

"I am very pleased and relieved by today’s decision.

It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.

We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances.

I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide. I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year.

I would like to thank my family and friends, my teammates, the Brewers organization led by Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin, Gord Ash and Ron Roenicke, and other players around the league who have expressed their support and our great fans in Milwaukee and around the country who stuck by me and did not rush to judgment.

I'd also like to offer special thanks to Michael Weiner and the Players Association for believing in me since day one and to my attorneys.

I'd like to thank my agent Nez Balelo and Terry Prince of CAA Sports and Matthew Hiltzik of Hiltzik Strategies for all of their help and counsel through the process.

This is not just about one person, but about all current and future players, and thankfully, today the process worked.

Despite the challenges of this adversarial process, I do appreciate the professionalism demonstrated by the Panel Chair and the Office of the Commissioner. 

As I said before, I’ve always loved and had so much respect for the game of baseball.

Everything I’ve done in my career has been with that respect and appreciation in mind.

I look forward to finally being able to speak to the fans and the media on Friday and then returning the focus to baseball and working with my Brewers teammates on defending our National League Central title."

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Posted on: February 23, 2012 5:12 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 9:44 pm
 

Braun wins appeal, won't be suspended



By Matt Snyder


Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has won his appeal and will not serve a suspension for a positive drug test late last season, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has confirmed. The news was first reported by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. This means arbitrator Shyam Das ruled Braun was not guilty in his failed test -- which showed elevated testosterone levels.

The appeal was held in front of Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association and Das, a third-party arbitrator. The chain of custody of the sample is where Braun won the appeal. His side argued it was improperly handled and there must have been enough evidence to convince Das.

The sample in question was collected on Oct. 1, a Saturday and the day the Brewers opened the NL playoffs. The collector did not send the sample to the laboratory until Monday, thinking it would be more secure at home than at a Federal Express office during the weekend. Baseball's drug agreement states that "absent unusual circumstances, the specimens should be sent by FedEx to the laboratory on the same day they are collected."

Major League Baseball, for one, is not happy. Here's the statement released by MLB executive vice president for labor relations Rob Manfred:

Braun wins appeal
“Major League Baseball considers the obligations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program essential to the integrity of our game, our Clubs and all of the players who take the field. It has always been Major League Baseball’s position that no matter who tests positive, we will exhaust all avenues in pursuit of the appropriate discipline. We have been true to that position in every instance, because baseball fans deserve nothing less.

“As a part of our drug testing program, the Commissioner’s Office and the Players Association agreed to a neutral third party review for instances that are under dispute. While we have always respected that process, Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”

Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, called the decision "a real gut-kick to clean athletes."

Das has been baseball's independent arbitrator since 2000 and this is the first successful drug test-related appeal.

Positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs have been relatively rare under the major league testing program, with just two others in 2011: Tampa Bay outfielder Manny Ramirez and Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo. Ramirez at first retired rather than face a 100-game suspension for a second positive test. Now that he wants to play again and since he missed most of last year, he will only need to serve a 50-game penalty.

Braun has maintained his innocence since word of his positive test leaked after the Winter Meetings. Sources told CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler that when Braun found out he had tested positive for a banned substance he requested a second test, which came up negative. Braun then appealed the first failed test, and the results were supposed to stay confidential, but an ESPN report outed Braun's test on December 10 and the story has been lingering since then.

Braun, 28, won the NL MVP in 2011 when he hit .332/.397/.597 with 33 homers, 111 RBI and 109 runs for the NL Central-winning Brewers. He will join his teammates in Brewers camp Friday, as scheduled.

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Posted on: February 19, 2012 11:07 pm
Edited on: February 19, 2012 11:22 pm
 

K-Rod contemplates lawsuit against former agents

By Matt Snyder

Brewers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez may file a lawsuit against his former agents, Paul Kinzer and Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

K-Rod and his attorneys allege that he was led to believe he had a no-trade clause that included 10 teams -- the Brewers being one of them -- by his agents when he initially signed a three-year contract with the Mets before the 2009 season. Instead, the former closer found out there was no such clause in July of last season. After realizing the omission, Rodriguez fired the agents and hired Scott Boras.

"They did something atrocious,'' Rodriguez's attorney Richard Johnson said (USAToday.com). "Their utter arrogance makes this so evil. It's like rear-ending somebody, but instead of stopping your car and trading insurance information, these guys blew up the car, took off, and ran away. They committed negligence, and turned it into a fraud case.''

Boras negotiated a $500,000 buyout out of K-Rod's vesting option for 2012, which was worth $17.5 million. He would have pretty easily finished enough games to make the option vest had he stayed with the Mets or been traded to a team that would use him as the closer. Instead, he accepted the buyout and was traded, eyeing a big free agent this deal in the offseason.

As the closer market dried up this past offseason, however -- not to mention the fact that Rodriguez had zero saves with the Brewers -- Rodriguez decided to accept arbitration from the Brewers instead of hitting the open market and ended up with a one-year, $8 million contract.

"He's going to lose a lot of money, the question is whether it's seven figures or eight figures,'' said Johnson(USAToday.com). "There's long-term damage to his career. He wasn't even in position to be marketed as a closer last winter. They really [messed] with his career in a monumental way.''

Had Rodriguez's contract contained the no-trade clause, he could have made sure he was in a closing situation -- perhaps having a great second half and setting himself up for a free agency offer from a team seeking a closer. Instead he'll remain in the setup role at least one more season.

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Posted on: February 19, 2012 11:46 am
Edited on: February 19, 2012 12:37 pm
 

Mike Cameron retires from baseball

By Matt Snyder

Exactly two months after signing a minor-league deal with the Washington Nationals, Mike Cameron has decided to call it a career, according to the club.

Cameron appeared to be a possibility as a center-field platoon partner with either Roger Bernadina or Rick Ankiel -- both of whom are left-handed -- but now the Nats are without a righty option. Of course, if Bryce Harper makes the team out of spring, the plan is to play Jayson Werth in center every day.

Cameron, 39, closes with a good career resume. In 17 seasons, he hit .249/.338/.444 with 278 home runs, 968 RBI, 1,064 runs and 297 stolen bases. He won three Gold Gloves, made one All-Star Game and received MVP votes two times. He has a shot at getting on the Hall of Fame ballot (Bill Mueller and Tony Womack were on this year's, for example), but no shot of getting in.

He never spent more than four years with the same ballclub, playing for eight different franchises: The Mariners, White Sox, Mets, Red Sox, Padres, Brewers, Reds and Marlins. Amazingly, as you can see, he played in every single division.

He was also involved in two pretty big transactions as part of trades in exchange for both Ken Griffey Jr. and Paul Konerko.

The highlight of Cameron's career had to be on May 2, 2002, when he hit four home runs in one game -- becoming the 13th player in big-league history to accomplish the feat.

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Posted on: February 16, 2012 12:03 pm
 

Arbitration season ends, owners win 5-2

Garrett Jones

By C. Trent Rosecrans


The Pirates wrapped up arbitration season on Thursday, beating Garrett Jones and settling with Casey McGehee on a one-year deal before heading to the arbitration room.

Jones was the seventh and final player to head to his arbitration hearing this winter, with owners taking a decisive 5-2 victory in 2012. Last season only three cases went to arbitration, with the players winning two (both against the Marlins -- the arbitrators must have felt sorry for them having to wear those new uniforms).

In a nutshell, the way arbitration works is that the player and team swap demands and after both sides make their cases, three arbitrators pick one number or the other -- in Jones' case, the arbitrators picked the team's offer of $2.25 million instead of Jones' demand of $2.5 million. Or, at any point before the door closes on the hearing room, the two sides can compromise. That's what the Pirates did with McGehee, settling at $2.5375 million, more or less between his request of $2.75 million and the team's offer of $2.35 million.

Because the hearings are so late in the offseason, most teams budget for the worst-case scenario with their arbitration-eligible players and the final result really on effects the guy signing the check and the guy cashing the check.

But hey, what's the fun of having winners and losers if you don't have a scoreboard. So here's looking back at this year's arbitration cases.

Team victories
The Brewers ($2 million) beat Jose Veras ($2.35 million)
The Nationals ($5 million) beat John Lannan ($5.7 million)
The Orioles ($800,000) beat Brad Bergesen ($1.2 million)
The Rays ($2.75 million) beat Jeff Niemann ($3.2 million)
The Pirates ($2.25 million) beat Jones ($2.5 million).

Marlins lossesPlayer victories
Emilio Bonifacio ($2.2 million) beat the Marlins ($1.95 million)
Anibal Sanchez ($8 million) beat the Marlins ($6.9 million)

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