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Braun suspended for rest of Brewers' season

MILWAUKEE - Former National League MVP Ryan Braun was suspended Monday without pay for the rest of the season for violating the Majors' policy on performance-enhancing drugs. The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder has accepted the penalty handed down by Major League baseball. Braun, who will be absent for the final 65 games of the season, has been among a handful of players under investigation for ties to Biogenesis, a closed anti-aging clinic in Florida linked with the distribution of PEDs. The 29-year-old Braun tested positive for elevated testosterone levels in 2012, but successfully appealed his 50- game suspension.  

Major League Baseball reportedly did not have as much drug evidence against Ryan Braun as it did against Yankees’ star Alex Rodriguez. Still, ESPN said investigators found that the Milwaukee slugger used a “sophisticated doping regimen” for an extended time. The network said it was enough for Braun to seek a second meeting with baseball officials, and negotiate his 65-game suspension for the rest of the season that was announced yesterday. Baseball officials said Braun violated the game’s drug policy, and said nothing specific about what he did. Braun was the first to be punished in the Bio-Genesis drug scandal, in which up to 20 big leaguers were suspected of buying performance-enhancing drugs from the clinic and its former director Tony Bosch. For Braun, it means a loss of $3.3 million dollars in salary during his suspension – a huge hit to his national reputation – and possibly his chance at the Hall-of-Fame, after he vehemently denied for almost two years that he took PED’s.

Braun addressed his teammates yesterday afternoon, and then left Miller Park without further comment. Baseball issued a statement in which Braun admitted making mistakes, apologizing to his fans, and accepting the consequences – and the players’ union praised Braun for coming forward. Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke said Braun didn’t say much to his teammates about what he did. Braun’s teammates, who have publicly supported him in the past, continued to do so. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy said no players would hold grudges when Braun returns to them next spring. Roenicke said he would not call Braun a liar, like some of his critics did yesterday. The skipper said it’s something he’s never been able to control, so his focus was – and is – on winning games with the players he has.

Both Roenicke and general manager Doug Melvin said people assumed the team knew what was going on during the Braun investigation. But they said the organization was kept in the dark like everyone else. Melvin said a cloud has finally been lifted from the team, and it can finally move forward. In reality, though, the loss to the Brewers is nothing like what it could have been. The team’s in last place, and Braun has missed almost 60 games anyway this season – mostly with nerve damage in his right hand which keeps bothering him. Roenicke said not too long ago that Braun would really need the rest of the season to heal. Braun’s deal allows him – and the Brewers – to start fresh next year. He’s under contract with Milwaukee through 2020.