PLEASANT PRAIRIE -- The man at the center of the Ryan Braun controversy - Braun's sample collector - spoke out on Tuesday, saying he did nothing wrong. His name is Dino Laurenzi, and he issued a statement Tuesday explaining exactly what he did with Braun's sample, and some people who know Laurenzi are coming to his defense.
In his statement, Laurenzi explained his extensive background in health care and sports. Laurenzi said he has collected over 600 samples for Major League Baseball since 2005. He said on the day he collected Braun's sample, he did the same thing he's always done: follow the rules.
The lengthy statement was released Tuesday by Laurenzi's attorney, and in it, Laurenzi described the now-infamous 44 hours in which he was in possession of Braun's sample. Laurenzi and Braun agree Laurenzi collected the sample on Saturday, October 1st at Miller Park. Laurenzi finished around 5:00 p.m. "There were at least five FedEx locations within five miles of the stadium that were open until 9:00 p.m. and an additional FedEx location open 24 hours," Braun said during his press conference Friday.
In his statement, Laurenzi says: "There was no FedEx office located within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship packages that day, or Sunday. Therefore, the earliest that the specimens could be shipped was Monday, October 3rd."
A spokesperson from FedEx told FOX6 Tuesday in an email: "In the Miller Park area, we have locations open and available to receive packages on Saturday as late as 9:00 p.m. and at least one 24-hour location." However, a store manager told FOX6 via phone that the latest any of the locations were shipping on Saturday was 5:00 p.m., and they don't do any shipping on Sunday.
Laurenzi said it is policy in that case, as he has done in the past, to take the samples home and store them there. Laurenzi said: "No one other than my wife was in my home during the period in which the samples were stored. The sealed specimen boxes were not removed from the FedEx Clinic pack during the entire period in which they were in my home." Laurenzi's statement went on to say: "At no point did I tamper in any way with the samples. It is my understanding that the samples were received at the laboratory with all tamper-resistant seals intact."
Laurenzi said since the samples wouldn't be able to be shipped until Monday, he was following protocol by holding the samples in his home. Laurenzi said in his statement: "In that circumstance, CDT has instructed collectors since I began in 2005 that they should safeguard the samples in their homes until FedEx is able to immediately ship the sample to the laboratory, rather than having the samples sit for one day or more at a local FedEx office. The protocol has been in place since 2005 when I started with CDT, and there have been other occasions when I have had to store samples in my home for at least one day, all without incident."
Laurenzi went on to say: "This situation has caused great emotional distress for me and my family. I have performed my job duties with integrity and professionalism and have done so with respect to this matter."
Some who know Laurenzi are coming to his defense. "He's a straight shooter, a professional at what he does, and he's a kind, good person, very honest," Pleasant Prairie Village Administrator Michael Pollocoff said.
Major League Baseball says they believe the collector followed the rules and they vehemently disagree with the arbitrator.
Laurenzi's attorney says he will have no more comments.