In October 2011, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun tested positive for an elevated testosterone level in a urine test and was suspended for the first 50 games of the 2012 regular season. News of the failed test was made public on December 10, 2011. Reportedly, results were “insanely high” and “twice the level of the highest test ever taken.” Hit the fast forward button. Braun appealed the suspension, and the appeal was heard in January. Today, Braun was exonerated (first reported by Tom Haudricourt), as an MLB arbitration panel overturned the suspension.
Braun is the first big leaguer to ever successfully appeal a suspension as the result of a positive drug test. His defense was simple and he won on a technicality. Braun argued that test protocol wasn’t followed, stating that the test collector took the urine sample home and refrigerated it. The sample should have been sent away immediately. I’m not quite sure how testosterone levels go up in urine while it awaits transport, but it doesn’t make much sense to me.
“It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation,” said Braun. “This is not just about one person, but about all current and future players, and thankfully, today the process worked.”
Major League Baseball released a statement: “Major League Baseball vehemently disagrees with the decision rendered today by arbitrator Shyam Das.”
What’s done is done, and Ryan Braun will be in the lineup on Opening Day. So, one would have to like the Brewers chances of defending their National League Central title much better with the MVP in the lineup for the full season. It should be an exciting race between the aforementioned Brewers, Reds, and Cardinals.