Brewers slugger returns to lineup amid latest Biogenesis news
MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun returned to the Brewers' starting lineup Tuesday amid news that he is facing a possible suspension after allegedly declining to cooperate last week with Major League Baseball officials investigating the Biogenesis case.
ESPN's "Outside the Lines" cited several sources in reporting that MLB is expected to suspend Braun and other players at some point after the July 16 All-Star Game, though league spokesperson Pat Courtney characterized that part of the report as premature.
"We are still in the midst of an active investigation," Courtney said.
Braun met with MLB on June 29 during the Brewers' three-game series in Pittsburgh, according to ESPN, and was reported to be uncooperative. He has previously denied taking any banned substances and said his only link to Biogenesis boss Tony Bosch was when his lawyers consulted with Bosch during Braun's successful appeal of a suspension during the 2011-12 offseason.
Bosch is now cooperating with MLB's investigation into the defunct South Florida firm, which allegedly supplied a number of Major Leaguers, including Braun, the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez and the Rangers' Nelson Cruz, with banned substances.
According to the New York Daily News, 10 other players also have declined to answer questions from baseball's investigators.
"In regards to that whole crazy situation, the truth still hasn't changed," Braun said after going 1-for-3 in the Brewers' 2-0 win over the Reds. "I'm still going to continue to respect the process and not discuss anything in the media. Beyond that, the vast majority of stories that have come out are inaccurate. But aside from that I'm not going to say anything else tonight."
Pressed on that, Braun would not say whether Tuesday's story was inaccurate.
"Just the vast majority of stories that have come out are definitely inaccurate," he said.
He said he was informed of ESPN's latest report right before the game, Braun's first off a month-long stint on the disabled list for a right hand injury. He hit the first live pitch he'd seen in exactly one month for a first-inning single and exited after the sixth, part of the Brewers' plan to ease him back into action.
Was Biogenesis a distraction on Tuesday?
"I think I'm numb to the emotions of the whole thing," Braun said. "I've dealt with it for so long, so I think I do a pretty good job of not being distracted by it."
Braun will probably be off Wednesday, when the Brewers and Reds finished their series with a day game, before returning to action during Milwaukee's four-game series at Arizona that leads into the All-Star break.
"I don't know what to expect, I guess, because the hand isn't 100 percent," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said before Tuesday's game. "If it was 100 percent, I wouldn't be surprised if tonight he got a couple of hits. He's one of those guys -- and I saw it with another guy, [former Angels outfielder] Garret Anderson -- that really doesn't have to have Spring Training at-bats. From Day 1, they can come out and hit."
If MLB does levy suspensions, players who appeal would remain active while their cases are ongoing.