NEW YORK (AP) — Former National League MVP Ryan Braun was suspended without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason Monday, the first penalty from baseball’s investigation of players reportedly tied to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.
The Milwaukee Brewers star accepted the 65-game penalty, 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.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced the penalty Monday, citing Braun for multiple unspecified “violations” of baseball’s drug program and labor contract. Braun will miss the Milwaukee Brewers’ final 65 games without pay, costing him about $3 million of his $8.5 million salary.
Under the agreement reached by MLB and the players’ association the specifics of Braun’s admission won’t be made public. The sides also wouldn’t say whether this counted as a single violation or more under baseball’s drug agreement.
Braun’s acceptance of a suspension marks a 180-degree turnaround from his defiant spring training news conference in Phoenix last year, after his 50-game ban was overturned.
“We won,” he said then, “because the truth is on my side. The truth is always relevant, and at the end of the day, the truth prevailed.”
Braun became the latest star tripped up by baseball’s drug rules.
The sport was criticized for allowing bulked up sluggers to set power records in the 1990s and only started testing in 2003. Since then, testing and penalties have become more stringent and last year San Francisco’s Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games, just weeks after he was voted MVP of the All-Star game.
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 reportedly tied to Biogenesis include Cabrera, now with the Toronto Blue Jays, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and Seattle catcher Jesus Montero.
Texas acquires Garza
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Matt Garza has been traded to Texas from the Chicago Cubs, giving the Rangers a pitcher they have long coveted. Texas sent the Cubs rookie pitcher Justin Grimm, top prospect third baseman Mike Olt and Class-A pitcher C.J. Edwards. There will also be a player to be named later. Garza, a 29-year-old right-hander who can be a free agent after the season, is 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA his last six starts.
A lawsuit seeking $12 million from Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig says he and his mother lied to Cuban authorities about a plan to smuggle the player out of the country. The suit filed in Miami by Miguel Angel Corbacho Daudinot lists Puig and his mother Maritza Valdes Gonzalez as defendants. Corbacho Daudinot is serving a seven-year sentence of “prolonged detention and torture,” which he alleges was caused by Puig and Gonzalez saying he was trying to hatch a plan to smuggle Puig out of Cuba. Corbacho Daudinot was convicted in 2010. … Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is expected to miss the three-game series against the Blue Jays, which began Monday, after spraining his left ankle.