MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun will not serve a 50-game suspension. That means Braun will be suited up with the Crew when the Brewers open the season against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on Friday, April 6th.
Braun tested positive in October for elevated testosterone, and ESPN revealed the positive test in December. The decision in favor of Braun is significant because it is the first time baseball player successfully challenged a drug-related penalty in a grievance.
“Today the arbitration panel announced its decision, by a 2-1 vote, to sustain Ryan Braun’s grievance challenging his 50-game suspension by the commissioner’s office,” a statement from the players’ association said.
Major League Baseball Executive Vice President for Labor Relations Rob Manfred issued the following statement today:
“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.”
An evidentiary hearing on Braun’s appeal was held Jan. 19-20 in New York, ending the day before the player accepted the NL MVP award at a black-tie dinner.
“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,” Braun said in his statement. “I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year.”
Braun was expected to arrive at spring training in Arizona Thursday afternoon. FOX6′s Tim Van Vooren is in Arizona — and will have much more information as soon as it becomes available.
Braun is the reigning National League Most Valuable Player. He hit .312 with 33 homers and 111 RBIs last year and led Milwaukee to the NL championship series, where the Brewers lost to the eventual World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Brewers are counting on his offense following the departure of Prince Fielder, who became a free agent and signed with the Detroit Tigers.
Braun already was signed through 2015 when the Brewers gave him a new deal running through 2020 that added $105 million and guaranteed him a total of $145.5 million over a decade.
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.