- "At no point did I tamper in any way with the samples," the collector says
- The collector waited nearly two days to deliver his sample, Ryan Braun says
- His 50-games suspension has been tossed out
The man who collected the urine sample that led to Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun's now-overturned drug suspension says he did not tamper with the sample, as Braun has implied.
"I followed the same procedure in collecting Mr. Braun's sample as I did in the hundreds of other samples," Dino Laurenzi Jr. said in a statement released Tuesday. "At no point did I tamper in any way with the samples. This situation has caused great emotional distress for me and my family."
Laurenzi's statement comes after Braun publicly blasted Major League Baseball's drug testing system and an arbitration board tossed out a 50-game suspension imposed as the result of the drug test Braun took last year.
Braun, the 2011 National League MVP, told reporters that nearly two days passed between when a collector took his sample and when it was delivered to a FedEx office.
"What could have possibly happened to it during that 44-hour period? There were a lot of things that we learned about the collector, about the collection process, about the way that the entire thing worked that made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened," Braun said during a news conference last week.
Laurenzi said he collected urine samples from Braun along with two other players on October 1, a Saturday, and the samples were sealed, placed in a sealed bag and then placed into a sealed cardboard box.
He finished the collection at 5 p.m. and took the samples home because there was "no FedEx office located within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship packages that day or Sunday."
Laurenzi said the testing policy requires collectors to take samples to their homes until FedEx can immediately send the sample to the laboratory. He said the sample was stored in his basement office in areas sufficiently cool enough to store urine. He then shipped the sample on Monday, October 3.
"It is my understanding that the samples were received at the laboratory with all tamper resistant seals intact," Laurenzi said.
The arbitrator's decision last week to overturn Braun's suspension marked the first successful appeal of a suspension under Major League Baseball's anti-drug policy.
Braun, 28, led the Brewers to the team's first division title in three decades in 2011, with a .332 batting average, 33 home runs and 111 runs batted in. He was slapped with the suspension in December after the drug test, which the sports network ESPN, citing unidentified sources, said showed high levels of testosterone.
Braun said at the time there were "highly unusual circumstances" that would show his innocence. The arbitration panel apparently agreed, voting 2-1 to overturn the suspension, according to the MLB Players Association.
Major League Baseball's executive vice president for labor relations, Rob Manfred, roundly rejected Braun's accusations, though he said some changes may be made in the testing process.
"Major League Baseball runs the highest quality drug testing program of any professional sports organization in the world. ... Our program is not 'fatally flawed.' Changes will be made promptly to clarify the instructions provided to collectors regarding when samples should be delivered to FedEx based on the arbitrator's decision," he wrote in a statement released last week.