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Ryan Braun tested positive for synthetic testosterone

Dec 10, 2011, 7:47 PM EDT

braun getty Getty Images

According to Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn of ESPN.com, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Braun, who won the 2011 National League MVP Award, is disputing the result through arbitration. If it is upheld, he will face a 50-game suspension.

It should be noted that Major League Baseball has not once overturned the result of a PED test.

Here’s more from Fainaru-Wada and Quinn, who revealed the stunning news on Saturday evening as part of an “Outside the Lines” investigation:

The 28-year-old Braun had to provide a urine sample for testing during the playoffs, and he was notified of the positive test sometime in late October — about a month before he was named the National League’s most valuable player.

The positive result was triggered by elevated levels of testosterone in Braun’s system, the sources also told “Outside the Lines.” A subsequent, more comprehensive test revealed the testosterone was synthetic — not produced by Braun’s body.

Braun, 28, batted .332 with a .994 OPS, 33 home runs and 111 RBI in 150 games this year. He posted an .866 OPS and hit only 25 home runs in 2010, somewhat of a down season for the slugging left fielder.

The Brewers signed Braun to a five-year, $105 million contract extension in April, adding to a previous eight-year pact that he inked with Milwaukee in May of 2008. He’s under team control through 2021.

  1. Bar None - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    That’s 50 games right? Or is 50 for the second offense?

    • randomdigits - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:50 PM

      It’s 50. And we have our token violator for the 2012 season early this year.

    • 78mu - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:51 PM

      50 games for RB.

      • bigleagues - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:52 PM

        So he and Manny will be returning the same day . . . theoretically speaking, of course.

    • djpostl - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:27 PM

      First offense, when it first started back in 2004 they gave you “one for free” I believe where first offense didn’t even result in a suspension, but that has since changed.

    • randygnyc - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:46 PM

      Rut roh, Shaggy.

  2. bigleagues - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    H.F.S.

    50 Games is first offense.
    100 Games is Second Offense
    And Lifetime Boot for 3rd and final offense

  3. jonirocit - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    MVP MVP MVP

  4. okwhitefalcon - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Wow, just wow.

    I guess the Angel’s just got trumped for “Baseball news of the day”, hell – maybe the biggest off season news to date.

  5. brewcrewfan54 - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Goddamit!

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:58 PM

      That sucks dude. As a Cardinals fan, I want to see them beat the Brewers at their best, not minus Braun for 50 games. He’s an excellent ballplayer and seems like a pretty likable guy. Hopefully he gets off that crap and continues mashing the ball the way he always has.

      • paperlions - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:21 AM

        Yeah, but it makes not having Dotel around less of a problem. :-)

  6. 78mu - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    Raise your hand if you had Braun and Manny waiting together to get on the field this season.

  7. dondada10 - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    So, Matt Kemp was the NL MVP

    • 78mu - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:05 PM

      If the test results had come out before the end of the season Kemp would have won in a landslide.

    • JBerardi - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:17 PM

      He should have been the MVP regardless.

      • pjmarn6 - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:32 PM

        How do you know he hasn’t been using drugs all along?

      • JBerardi - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:27 PM

        Kemp should have been the MVP, I mean.

      • sailbum7 - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:43 AM

        He should have the MVP award revoked and be forced to give back any salary bonus he received for getting the award to start with.

    • JBerardi - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:17 PM

      He should have been the MVP regardless.

      • Old Gator - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:24 PM

        HELLO hello hello….

      • pjmarn6 - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:36 PM

        He just blew his $2 million dollar salary hike. And does anyone know if he was ever tested before?

    • paperlions - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:22 PM

      Kemp was the most valuable player anyway.

  8. miamifishfan - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    For those incline to defend him, just know, you cannot accidentally take Test. I’ve used…there is no other way other than knowingly taken it,period!

    • hittfamily - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:46 PM

      Maybe he will be the first openly gay athlete. That would explain someone elses testasterone in his body

      • Old Gator - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:51 PM

        Oh come on, man – that’s a cup0pizza level comment….

      • hittfamily - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:56 PM

        my joke didn’t go over well.

  9. bigleagues - Dec 10, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    I guess this means we need to place an asterisk next to that Brewers title . . . what’s that? Ohhhhhhhhh . . .

  10. xmatt0926x - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    Unfu**ing real. I’m guessing this has to be one of those “took some cold medicine” deals where he didn’t know it had some kind of odd ingredient?? If that ends up being the case I almost have to trust that Braun would be telling the truth that he didn’t know what he was taking only because nobody could be that stupid to be on his elite level and then to tarnish his reputation by foolishly trying to take a hidden PED in this day and age. Is there another Ryan Braun somewhere in the low minors that they are talking about? Can this seriously be the Ryan Braun on the Brewers ? How can he be this stupid? Good grief Charlie Brown….. I’m not exactly on top of the whole PED thing where I know whats still out there besides steroids. If I understand correctly you can still do HGH and have a good chance to get away with it but still, to be on his level with the amount of natural talent he has and to try and get away with something like this is amazing to me.

    • xmatt0926x - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:05 PM

      Wow. As I was typing my rant in total shock I forgot the most obvious point. He just got the MVP!! It totally slipped my mind. If this is a case where he has no “I didnt know what I was taking ” defense then he should be drawn and quartered, his body parts put on spikes for all the realm to see!! Or just suspend him for 50 games….. One of those.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:07 PM

      to be on his level with the amount of natural talent he has and to try and get away with something like this is amazing to me.

      Don’t be so quick to judge considering how many of these guys take supplements, and supplements, while not regulated by the FDA, often contain hidden chemicals that can trip a PED test. It’s what happened to that Phillies pitcher a few years ago, even after his agent called the MLB hotline to confirm that the supplement was ok, which they did, and he failed the test anyhow.

      Or he could be using ‘roids…

      • cur68 - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:42 PM

        Gonna be hard to sell that, Church. The common, easiest applied form of synthetic testosterone is Androgel or some other like cream (a variety of compounds with different mixtures exist, each proprietary to a given company: Androgel though, is the most popularly known, I think). To claim it as a muscle relaxant or arthritis cream would be ludicrous. Application of synthetic androgen is very specific: you MUST wear gloves. You MUST apply to shaved/hair free skin. You MUST rotate the spots you use. It would be very odd to do this with another product that WASN’T synthetic androgen. I can’t think of another cream that’s applied this way.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:15 PM

        My knowledge of specific steroids is limited, so thanks for the info. The issue I have is twofold: one, I don’t trust WADA at all. They have a huge conflict of interest here and would prefer an independent third party to verify the results. Second, it has happened before where someone, JC Romero with the Phillies, tested positive for a substance that MLB approved but still had a banned chemical in it.

        Again, it’s entirely possible he broke the rules. No reason to jump on his case now before everything has come out.

      • cur68 - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:26 PM

        We need more information before we start condemning him as a cheat, absolutely. There should be an automatic second test, a blood test, possibly a hair sample as well and the ratios of testosterone to epitestosterone should be published. The test itself isn’t foolproof either. You can get false positives (FP) if enough things stack up against you: combinations of diet, stress level, sex, time of day, having a naturally higher level of testosterone to epitestosterone ratio no matter what etc might all combine to render an FP. If Braun has a baseline sample he can refer to, which can be crucial, then that might serve to exonerate him. More data is better than jumping to a conclusion right now.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:35 PM

        What do you think of the report that he asked to be retested and that test was negative?

      • cur68 - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:44 PM

        Where’s the 2nd test being reported? I was reading about Price and the guy taking a leak on Price’s car…but not at all surprised to see this. FPs can happen: tests like this set baseline numbers and do not take into account individual differences, environment, lifestyle etc.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:49 PM

        Per the espn.com article (it might have been updated since it originally posted):

        Since being informed of the results, Braun has been disputing his case. A source close to Braun said that when he was told about the positive test, he immediately requested to be tested again. That second test, using a different sample that was tested by Braun’s camp, the source said, was not positive. Those close to Braun believe that the difference between the two tests will show that the first test was invalid. Although Braun’s representatives acknowledge that a non-positive test would not negate a positive one, they believe the second test shows certain anomalies that will suggest problems with the first. They declined to specify.

        http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/7338271/ryan-braun-milwaukee-brewers-tests-positive-performance-enhancing-drug

      • flyspe - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:32 AM

        The fact that the second sample was “tested by Braun’s camp” and came back negative doesn’t help him. What choice does his “camp” have other then to say this? To an outsider Braun seems like a great guy but so did McGuire, Sosa, Palmeiro etc.. Palmeiro stood at a Congressional hearing, arm raised, and swore that he never juiced. Then 5 months later was suspended for failing a drug test. Braun just signed a large contract so that would make it seem like he has zero incentive use but then again maybe he has been doing this the whole time. I don’t necessarily trust the testing process but the players have given me even less reason to trust them. I hope he finds a way to clear himself but I’m not going to hold my breath.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        The fact that the second sample was “tested by Braun’s camp” and came back negative doesn’t help him. What choice does his “camp” have other then to say this?

        How does it not help him? It’s not like his agent did the chemical analysis himself. I’m sure he went to a reputable lab to get the work done. His camp could also say a number of things, such as it was a tainted supplement.

        Palmeiro stood at a Congressional hearing, arm raised, and swore that he never juiced. Then 5 months later was suspended for failing a drug test

        This is irrelevant. However, as dumb as it may seem*, it’s entirely possible Palmeiro never took steroids when he testified. Took them after, and got caught. This doesn’t make his testimony wrong. [* then again it's also dumb to lie to Congress, unless you are a politician]

        Braun just signed a large contract so that would make it seem like he has zero incentive use but then again maybe he has been doing this the whole time

        Per Keith Law on twitter, Braun’s ISO in ’11 was .018 above his ISO over the prior four years, when he would have tested negative at least six times.

    • paperlions - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:29 PM

      So…your theory is that he was taking OTC cough medicine laced with synthetic testosterone?

      • randygnyc - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:58 PM

        Sorry, but this failure, obviously, wasn’t the first one. The article clearly states that MLB was already aware of elevated testosterone levels in Braun’s urine. The only thing we don’t know is how long MLB was aware that Braun had these elevated levels.

      • paperlions - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:23 AM

        That was sarcasm aimed at the person that clearly didn’t read past the headline before ranting.

  11. miamifishfan - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    For those incline to. Defend him, just know, u cannot accidentally take test” there is no other way than knowingly taken it, I speak from experience.

  12. sdelmonte - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    A black eye for baseball. But at the same time, evidence that drug testing is able to catch users.

  13. xarnthal - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    Typical, only a matter of time until Pujols gets it too. Unless people think he Magically went from being ‘too small’ to play to one of the biggest guys in the game.

    • meteor32 - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:20 PM

      When did anyone say AP was too small? All I’ve ever heard was that teams thought he was too fat before he got drafted and in the minor leagues.

    • JBerardi - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:23 PM

      Uhh… who told you Pujols was ever too small? Because he wasn’t.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:27 PM

        In fact it was the complete opposite. Scouts, according to Keri’s book, couldn’t figure out where he’d play because he was “too thick” to be an infielder.

    • djpostl - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:30 PM

      The scouts before he was drafted did actually. If one persistent scout hadn’t doggedly hounded the Cards to select him he might have never gotten a shot.

      • JBerardi - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:24 PM

        This is a bunch of crap. First off, Pujols is listed at 6’3″ 230. At what point would he have been “too small”? Did he grow five inches since being drafted? Those must be some mighty good steroids.

        Second, LOOK:

        http://test.njcaa.org/images/Hall_of_Excellence/Professional_Athletes/Albert-Pujols_Maple-Woods.jpg

        If any scout said that guy was “too small to play” they probably shouldn’t be scouting.

    • chuckj1234 - Dec 11, 2011 at 2:45 AM

      Dum comment. Did you give it any thought, or did it pop into your head?

  14. stevedubs11 - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    He is the FIRST of MANY to come. wouldn’t be surprised to hear pujols get called out soon.

    • JBerardi - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:26 PM

      He’s the first?

  15. Gordon - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Oy vey!

    MVPED! MVPED! MVPED!

  16. jrspike - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Really a great player, can we call him little Sammy, little mark. No Braun no Fielder, sure makes the cards job a lot easier. I know he never had sex with that women. Honest

  17. schmedley69 - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    The NL Central is looking pretty weak next season. No Pujols, probably no Fielder, and no Ryan Braun for 50 games. The Reds are starting to look pretty good.

    • jdd428 - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:21 PM

      At least until Votto’s test results come in.

    • paperlions - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:32 PM

      That’s funny….nothing that happens to other teams will make the Reds look good.

  18. virusgvr - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    You know what the worst part of all this is???? The fact that if this guy didn’t get caught he would have scored a huge a$$ contract sometime soon. An then guess what folks??? Ticket would have gone up!!! Lets all charge more to watch baseball games…. Errr.. I mean cheaters of this game! Takes the honor right out of it!

    • 78mu - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:23 PM

      He’d just signed a 5 year extension for 105 million in the last year.

    • jdd428 - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:24 PM

      He would have scored a huge contract sometime soon?! I think he already did:
      “The Brewers signed Braun to a five-year, $105 million contract extension in April, adding to a previous eight-year pact that he inked with Milwaukee in May of 2008. He’s under team control through 2021.”

      $105M over 5 years = $21M avg annually. I’d call that “huge.”

    • djpostl - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:31 PM

      Lol he is signed through 2020. So, um, no.

      • jwbiii - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:30 PM

        And he will earn $141.5M, unless his 2021 option is picked up.

  19. royalsfaninfargo - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    Wow! You never know who is going to break the rules! This does show that however flawed it is, MLB’s testing program works.

    • paperlions - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:34 PM

      I don’t know if it shows that it “works”….it shows that it can catch someone…but we have no idea what proportion of players that are using are caught….if Braun was the only user, then yeah, it works….if he is 1 of 100 or 1 of 50 or 1 of 20, then it doesn’t

      • JBerardi - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:35 PM

        What would convince you that baseball (or any sport) is clean, then?

      • seattlej - Dec 11, 2011 at 2:12 AM

        Nothing. I don’t think that there’s anything out there that could convince me that professional sports are clean.

      • paperlions - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:31 AM

        MLB doesn’t test very often, and doesn’t test during the off-season. Many PEDs can be cleared from the system quickly. So….nothing can convince me that a sport is “clean”.

        We only know what we know, that a few MiLB players are caught each year, that Manny was caught last year (and he was some seriously low hanging fruit), and Braun apparently caught this year. We don’t and can’t know anything else.

        Cyclists are tested all of the time, and according to the few that will speak opening, that testing didn’t stop the majority of them from doping daily. Given, cyclists are a lot more educated in ways to beat the system and clearly benefit from their doping, whereas it isn’t clear that such drugs have a great effect on baseball ability (except for pitchers)….so there should be considerably less incentive for baseball players to use…but the current system has gaping holes in it. Guys are tested in ST and then might get tested once or twice a year after that…or not. It isn’t like they have to pee in a cup monthly.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:05 AM

        seattlej

        Holy cow Debbie Downer.

        Count me out for wanting to stand next to you at a party.

        “Let me share my story about meeting captain Picard. Not what you would expect. He knew so little about time travel. He thought the particles……”

  20. mojosmagic - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    PUTZ. And people have the nerve to complain about the fat boys like Fielder? At least all they do is eat.

  21. lostsok - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    Surprised by this one. Sad for baseball, and more so for Matt Kemp. Braun better brace himself for some serious booing next year. He comes in 2nd, most people shrug. But you don’t win the MVP and get a pass. It’ll be ugly when he comes to LA, and I don’t blame a single fan a single boo.

  22. isujames - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    It dont suprise me that he does steroids,none of these guys can hit a large amount of homeruns with some help(cheating).As much as i dont like Apujols,i would be suprised if something surfaced about him on steroids.Im not shocked about braun though he should have his mvp award taken from him,cheating little punk.

  23. isaiahforreal - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    Finally a Jewish villain

  24. phillyphreak - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    My first thought is “wow that’s really dumb.” My second thought is “what’s the false positive for the test?”

    Though, he may very well have taken steroids “knowingly” I’m going to reserve judgement until I hear more.

    • cur68 - Dec 10, 2011 at 9:14 PM

      Can’t tell that yet, phreak. What I do know is that the test for synthetic testosterone is very good. Mind you, I’m taking the WADA view on the matter, but the fella who developed it (I think he works for UCLA or some such place) indicated that in lab testing it proved extremely sensitive. Typically most people are about 1:1, 2:1 or, for the naturally testosteronally gifted, 3:1 of testosterone to epitestosterone. More than 4:1 then the test for synthetics is used. Given the out of whack nature of 4:1 testosterone to epitestosterone, this means that SOMETHING in high concentration is suppressing natural testosterone while still still behaving just like testosterone. Bit like seeing lots of algae in the pond: something’s in the water that shouldn’t be there.

      You CAN get false positives (FP) from the tests. However, before you go down that road, you need to know the ratios. If it was ridiculously high, well beyond 4:1, then FPs are unlikely. If its close to normal, then, of course, much more likely. Diet alone can influence androgen level. Time of day, exercise, stress, company you keep, amount of sex you have etc could influence it. There may even be seasonal variation in naturally produced testosterone. At this point: too little information…

      • phillyphreak - Dec 10, 2011 at 10:56 PM

        I’m totally not discounting the fact that he could have been taking something. I’m just waiting for more info to come out.

  25. trbowman - Dec 10, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Should have gone to Kemp in the first place.

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