In a long overdue announcement, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Ryan Braun has won the appeal of his drug test, and has not been suspended for the first 50 games of the 2012 season. The decision comes two months after a report that Ryan Braun had failed a test for performance enhancing drugs. The Brewers, who lost Prince Fielder in free agency, are hoping to defend their NL Central title. Losing their franchise player for nearly a third of the season would have certainly knocked them a step back.
The appeal process is supposed to be confidential to protect a player from scrutiny in case there was a mistake in the process. However, news of Braun’s positive test leaked long before his appeal hearing. Even though Braun has won his appeal, his reputation will be forever tarnished.
ESPN is reporting that the urine sample taken from Braun was supposed to be sent out via Fed Ex as soon as possible. The courier of the sample thought that Fed Ex was closed, so he kept the sample in his refrigerator over the weekend. Allegedly, this was enough of a chain of command error to sway the independent arbitrator, Shyam Das, in Braun’s favor. More details will surely be released in the next few days.
Having Ryan Braun active for the entire season is a huge boost to the Brewers lineup that would have been anchored by Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, and Aramis Ramirez, after losing Prince Fielder. With one of the best pitching staffs in the league, the Brewers are once again seen as one of the favorites in the National League.