Ryan Braun suspended for rest of season, admits wrongdoing

Ryan BraunRyan Braun has been suspended for the rest of the MLB season for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic that allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to several athletes. Braun has repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs despite evidence to the contrary. Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during his MVP season in 2011. He escaped a 50-game suspension as a first-time offender of the MLB’s drug policy because his attorneys found an error with the collection process. Braun also explained his name appearing in the personal notes of Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch by saying his lawyers consulted Bosch when appealing his positive drug test.

After all the denials, Braun accepted his punishment from MLB and admitted wrongdoing in a statement. Here’s Braun’s statement via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”

MLB must have presented Braun with overwhelming evidence for him to admit wrongdoing after over a year of denials. He also must have agreed to a 65-game suspension as a compromise with MLB (50 games are called for with a first violation, 100 games for a second).

[Related: All the lies Ryan Braun told about his PED use]

“We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions,” said Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President, Economics & League Affairs for Major League Baseball. “We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter. When Ryan returns, we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field.”

Braun is earning $8.5 million this season, so the suspension will cost him about $3.4 million. It’s quite amazing that he has finally admitted wrongdoing after over a year of denials. He probably should have also apologized for lying the whole time.

Braun’s admission of wrongdoing also spells bad news for Alex Rodriguez and every other player tied to the scandal. That likely means all the evidence MLB has is credible.

Alex Rodriguez ‘all but assured’ a 50-game suspension

Alex Rodriguez YankeesAlex Rodriguez is one of several baseball players facing a suspension from MLB for ties to the now-defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied players with performance-enhancing drugs. A past report from ESPN said that suspensions for A-Rod and Ryan Braun — the two biggest names involved in the scandal — were likely to come after the All-Star break.

The timing of A-Rod’s suspension is interesting; the 3B/DH is rehabbing from offseason hip surgery and was scheduled to return to the New York Yankees on Monday until being delayed by a quad strain. Based on the new information we’re hearing, Rodriguez may not return to the Yankees at all this season.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that A-Rod is “all but assured” of receiving a Biogenesis-related suspension from MLB for not answering questions presented by MLB investigators. Heyman says the suspension would be for at least 50 games.

MLB’s rules call for a 50-game suspension for a first violation of the league’s drug policy, a 100-game suspension for a second offense, and a lifetime ban for a third violation. Though Rodriguez has admitted to using PEDs in the past, that was not considered a violation because the drug policy was not in place at the time. However, MLB reportedly will consider each offense a separate violation. For example: if MLB can prove that A-Rod used drugs before and after interviewing with them, then that would be considered two violations. They would also consider it a violation if A-Rod lied to investigators, which means he could theoretically be suspended 150 games (a lifetime ban for one ruling would be difficult to execute).

[Previously: Alex Rodriguez, MLB reportedly working on plea deal]

The Yankees are 98 games into the season. If A-Rod’s return to the team is delayed another two weeks and then he gets a 50-game (or more) suspension, that would take him out for the season. The Yankees reportedly have been working to void A-Rod’s contract somehow so that they won’t have to pay him the $86 million he is owed over the next four years, though that would likely be difficult to accomplish.

Jose Bautista disagrees with Chris Davis, calls Barry Bonds HR king

barry-bonds-musclesChris Davis has enjoyed a phenomenal first half of the season for the Baltimore Orioles, and his success has led to notoriety and scrutiny.

Davis, who has clubbed 37 home runs this season, recently responded to a Twitter user who asked if he was juicing by saying he was not. Davis also seemed to show an anti-PED stance when he said on ESPN Radio two weeks ago that he and many others consider Roger Maris to be the single-season home run king, not Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa, who all were believed to be using PEDs when they broke Maris’ record of 61 homers.

Apparently Davis was not speaking for Jose Bautista when he made that statement.

The Toronto Blue Jays outfielder, whose 54 home run season in 2010 subjected him to PED suspicion, told NBC Sports Radio’s “Kup & Schultz” on Sunday that he considers Bonds to be the single-season record holder.

“Well, I consider the home run record in baseball the one that is 73 home runs,” Bautista said on the show. “Until they manage to change that somehow, that’s the record. I’m sorry [Davis] feels a different way, but that’s just the way I feel.”

Davis is not the first person to refuse to acknowledge Bonds as the home run king because of PEDs, but technically Bautista is right. As of now, there is no asterisk next to Bonds’ name in the record book. Major League Baseball still recognizes him as the single-season home run record holder. If Davis keeps hitting homers at his current pace, he can take a shot at officially changing that.

Ryan Braun reportedly would not answer questions about Biogenesis

Ryan BraunMLB plans to suspend Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, and as many as 20 other players soon after the All-Star break because of their ties to Biogenesis, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reports.

Tony Bosch, who ran the Biogenesis clinic, cut a deal with MLB last month to provide information which helped them build their cases against the players in question.

One reason Braun could be facing a lengthy suspension is because he would not answer questions about his relationship with Biogenesis or Bosch during a June 29 meeting with MLB, per Outside the Lines.

Braun has repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs despite failing a drug test in 2011 and appearing in the Biogenesis records.

Braun’s 50-game suspension for the positive test was overturned after he won his appeal because the tester did not follow proper protocol when handling the sample. Braun also said he was listed in Bosch’s notes because his lawyers used Bosch as a consultant during his appeal.

Braun continues to avoid the subject matter. He said through a club spokesperson that he will not address the Biogenesis issue with reporters.

Ryan Madson considers HGH amid struggle to get healthy

Ryan MadsonRyan Madson is struggling to get healthy as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. The relief pitcher signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels in November that could have been worth as much as $7 million if he reached all his incentives/bonuses. Though Madson was initially expected to be ready to pitch in the majors in April — 12 months after his surgery — he has yet to pitch in a game for the Angels this season. Madson has experienced multiple setbacks and persistent soreness in his elbow, which has left him desperate for an answer.

On Tuesday, Madson expressed so much frustration with his situation that he told MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez he would be interested in something like HGH to aid his recovery if it weren’t illegal.

“If HGH were legal,” Madson said, “just in the process of healing, under a doctor’s recommendation, in the right dosage, while you’re on the [disabled list], I don’t think that’s such a bad idea — as long as it doesn’t have any lasting side effects, negative side effects.”

Though Madson brought up the possibility of using HGH, he says he has never used anything illegal to get an edge on his competition.

“Right now [using HGH is] cheating. I’ve never done anything like that, and I won’t,” he told Gonzalez.

Madson says he hasn’t used HGH and won’t use it because it’s illegal, but he does believe it should be under certain circumstances. If it’s under a doctor’s care, for the right dosage, and used for healing, he thinks it should be allowed. He does make a distinction between HGH and steroids, saying that allowing steroids would be too much.

Madson, 22, was a featured reliever in the Philadelphia Phillies’ bullpen from 2004-2011. He posted a 3.60 ERA with 547 strikeouts in 630 innings for them. He has not pitched in the majors since 2011. It’s looking like it may be until 2014 before he finally pitches again in MLB.

Some people agree with Madson and believe that PEDs should be allowed for entertainment, or to help some of our favorite players return and recover from injuries. Though I believe in using surgery to repair broken bones and torn ligaments, I still have a problem ethically with allowing substances that have side effects like steroids or HGH.

100-game suspensions for A-Rod and Ryan Braun? MLB is on a rampage

Ryan BraunMLB is looking to suspend around 20 players for their alleged involvement with Biogenesis, a now-defunct anti-aging clinic run by quack Tony Bosch that allegedly doubled as a supplier of performance-enhancing drugs to several athletes, ESPN reports.

The most jaw-dropping item in the ESPN “Outside the Lines” report is that MLB might seek 100-game suspensions for former MVPs Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, which is the penalty for a second doping offense. According to ESPN, MLB will consider the players’ connection to Bosch a first offense, and the players denying involvement with Biogenesis in statements to MLB a second offense.

ESPN says Bosch is broke, living with friends and/or family, and fearful of facing charges from the federal government. Though in the past Bosch denied association with athletes, he reportedly is now prepared to talk to MLB because he supposedly believes cooperating with them is his only option. MLB would also be cutting him a sweet deal.

ESPN states in its report:

In exchange for Bosch’s full cooperation, sources said, Major League Baseball will drop the lawsuit it filed against Bosch in March, indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation, provide personal security for him and even put in a good word with any law enforcement agency that might bring charges against him.

MLB is also looking for cooperation from two other former Bosch employees so that they would have more documented statements and evidence against the players involved with the clinic.

Currently, ESPN has the names of 15 players who may face suspension. They say about 20 could face suspension. It’s possibly that the remaining players appear in Bosch’s notes under code names.

Based on the names of players we have, the teams who would be hit hardest by the potential suspensions include:

[Read more...]

Top MLB Draft prospect Jonathan Gray tests positive for Adderall

Jonathan Gray OklahomaJonathan Gray, a pitcher who might go first overall in this week’s MLB Draft, tested positive for Adderall in an MLB test administered to the top 200 draft prospects, according to various reports.

Gray, a 6-foot-4, 239-pound junior at Oklahoma, can throw 100 mph and is expected to be one of the first players taken in the draft. The positive test for Adderall is not expected to hurt his draft stock, per CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, but future positive tests could result in a suspension.

Amateur players are not subject to MLB suspensions for failing a test. However, MLB players are suspended 25 games if they fail a test for the second time.

Adderall is a medication used to treat ADD, and MLB allows players to apply for a medical exemption. ESPN’s Keith Law says Gray did not have a prescription for the drug.

Gray was selected in the 10th round in 2010 and 13th round in 2011 (he played his freshman season at a community college). After going 8-4 with a 3.16 ERA last season, he has gone 10-2 with a 1.59 ERA in 16 starts this season. Gray has struck out 138 batters in 119 innings.

Below is a video of Gray pitching against UCLA in March. He dialed it up to 100 mph a few times, located well, and showed a disgusting tailing changeup and pretty nasty slider:

[Read more...]