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Monday, Jul 22 2013 03:38 PM

Former MVP Ryan Braun suspended for rest of season

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    By Rick Wood

    The Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun checks his swing in the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday, July 9, at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

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    By John Fisher/Cal Sport Media/ZUMAPRESS.com

    Milwaukee left fielder Ryan Braun #8 doubles to right field in the 1st inning at Miller Park in Milwaukee on May 5.

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BY RONALD BLUM AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK — Former National League MVP Ryan Braun was suspended without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason Monday in the first penalty of baseball’s investigation of players reportedly tied to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.

Braun accepted the penalty.

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Former National League MVP Ryan Braun was suspended Monday without pay for the rest of the season and the postseason for violating league policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Some of the reaction:

"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." -- Braun in a statement provided by MLB.

"We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions. 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." -- Rob Manfred, MLB executive vice president, economics and league affairs.

"I am deeply gratified to see Ryan taking this bold step. It vindicates the rights of all players under the Joint Drug Program. It is good for the game that Ryan will return soon to continue his great work both on and off the field." -- Michael Weiner, MLB Players Association executive director.

"I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions," he said in a statement.

Major League Baseball attempted to suspend Braun for a positive drug test following the 2011 season, but an arbitrator overturned the penalty because the Milwaukee star’s urine sample was not handled as specified by baseball’s drug agreement.

Braun, injured Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and more than a dozen players were targeted by MLB following a report by Miami New Times in January that they had been connected with Biogenesis of America, a now-closed anti-aging clinic.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced the penalty Monday, citing Braun for multiple unspecified "violations" of baseball’s drug program and labor contract. Braun will miss the Milwaukee Brewers’ final 65 games without pay, costing him about $3 million of his $8.5 million salary.

Under the agreement reached by MLB and the players’ association the specifics of Braun’s admission won’t be made public.

"We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions," said Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president for economics and league affairs. "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."

Union head Michael Weiner said in a statement: "I am deeply gratified to see Ryan taking this bold step. It vindicates the rights of all players under the joint drug program. It is good for the game that Ryan will return soon to continue his great work both on and off the field."

Braun’s acceptance of a suspension marks a 180-degree turnaround from his defiant spring training news conference in Phoenix last year, after his 50-game ban was overturned.

"We won," he said then, "because the truth is on my side. The truth is always relevant, and at the end of the day, the truth prevailed."

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