From MVP to PED. Milwaukee’s All Star outfielder Ryan Braun is done for the rest of the season, the first star to fall in baseball’s latest drug investigation.
The 2011 National League MVP was suspended without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason Monday, the start of sanctions involving players reportedly tied to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.
The Brewers star accepted the 65-game ban, 15 games more than the one he avoided last year when an arbitrator overturned his positive test for elevated testosterone because the urine sample had been improperly handled.
‘’I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions,’’ he said in a statement.
Braun, injured Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and more than a dozen players were targeted by MLB following a report by Miami New Times in January that they had been connected with Biogenesis of America, a now-closed anti-aging clinic.
A person familiar with the deal, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized, said 50 games of the penalty were connected to Biogenesis. The additional 15 games stemmed from Braun’s actions during the grievance that overturned his positive test from October 2011. T
The 29-year-old Braun was hitting .298 with nine homers and 38 RBIs this year, slowed by a thumb injury that limited him to one game between June 9 and Friday.
Braun met with MLB investigators in late June. Baseball’s probe was boosted when Anthony Bosch, who ran Biogenesis, agreed last month to cooperate with the sport’s investigators.
The suspension is the latest in a string of high-profile drug cases across sports. Cyclist Lance Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner, ended years of denials in January, admitting he doped to win. Positive tests were disclosed this month involving sprinters Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson.
By serving the entire penalty this year, Braun gains a slight monetary advantage. His salary increases to $10 million next year, when a 65-game suspension would cost him about $500,000 more.
Four All-Stars this year have been linked in media reports to Biogenesis: Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz, San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera, Oakland pitcher Bartolo Colon and Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
Other players tied to Biogenesis in media reports include Melky Cabrera, now with the Toronto Blue Jays, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and Seattle catcher Jesus Montero.
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