Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun won the 2011 National League MVP award before it was revealed that he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during the playoffs. Braun appealed the result of the test and his 50-game suspension in front of a three-man arbitration panel in New York City from Jan. 19-20. So far, no ruling has been made on the appeal.
According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel a response to the appeal is expected to be handed down by February 24. That just happens to be the date Milwaukee’s position players must reported for spring training.
Rulings on suspension appeals are typically delivered within 25 days of the hearing, but that standard is not being applied in this case because it is the offseason and games are not being played.
Braun is attempting to be the first player in Major League Baseball to have a positive test overturned and – when you consider that synthetic testosterone was found in his system – it’s highly unlikely that will happen. The 28-year-old four-time All-Star will be allowed to fully participate in spring training regardless of the ruling.
If Braun’s 50-game suspension is upheld it would be a huge strike against his career. He is a lifetime .312 hitter, with 161 home runs and 531 RBI, but all of that has now come into question.
Braun finished second in the National League in batting during the 2011 season (.332), was sixth in home runs (33), fourth in RBI (111), seventh in stolen bases (33), fifth in on-base percentage (.397), first in slugging percentage (.597), and first in OPS (.994). That’s an incredible season, and now it means absolutely nothing.
If you’re holding your breath for the ruling on Braun’s appeal, you might as well stop now. There is virtually no chance he will play during the season’s first 50 games.