Ryan Braun's focus remains on moving forward

Phoenix -- Ryan Braun remained in "look forward, not back" mode Thursday as he rejoined his Brewers teammates in the clubhouse for the first time since serving a season-ending, 65-game suspension for PED use.

"I'm excited to be back, excited to be in Arizona, excited to meet my new teammates, looking foward to the challenge of learning a new position, just excited to be back playing baseball," Braun told reporters after checking in to Maryvale Baseball Park.

As he did in two off-season media opportunities, including the "Brewers On Deck" fan festival, Braun deflected all questions about the Biogenesis investigation, exactly what he did and why.

"I've addressed that a couple times already in multiple press conferences, and I got pretty specific with exactly what happened and when it happened," he said. "I took responsibility for the mistake that I made and for me my focus is on this year and moving forward and learning a new position and getting ready for the season."

It was the first time that a sizable number of members from the national media had a chance to ask Braun questions and many were asked about his PED use. But he made it clear that he has said all he is going to say about that sordid chapter of his life and he is ready to move on.

"The best answer I can give you is I made a mistake," he said. "I've said multiple times that I wish I had the ability to go back and change things, do things differently. Unfortunately, I don't have that opportunity. I embrace the challenge that lies ahead. I know it won't be easy but I intend to do everything in my power to continue to be the best person and player I can be.

"I made a mistake. I deserved to be suspended. I took full responsibility for my actions and as I've said many, many times, all I can do is look forward and continue to move forward."

Asked if he felt any pressure to show he can be what he was in the past -- both clean and dirty -- one of the best players in the game, Braun said, "I think I always put a lot of pressure on myself. My expectation is always to be one of the best players in baseball. I think over the first seven or eight years of my career, I've been able to do that.

"I dealt with a similar situation in 2012 and had my best year. So, that's certainly my goal and intention this year in coming back and focusing on the season."

As for acceptance in the clubhouse, Braun said, "Everybody has been extremely supportive and I appreciate that. Certainly, when everything first occurred there was some confusion because I wasn't allowed to say anything. It was an ongoing and active investigation, so because of that I couldn't really say anything. Aside from that, my relationship with everybody has been great and I don't anticipate any change moving forward."

Braun's troubles began when he failed an MLB drug test in October 2011 at the outset of the playoffs. He tested positive for synthetic testosterone but appealed the verdict and won on what turned into a chain-of-custody case.

Asked if that was the only time he took a banned substance, Braun said, "I've already addressed that multiple times. I think I was very specific in my statement (in August of last year). I've answered all of these questions at multiple press conferences. I appreciate the interest. I completely understand and respect that you guys have a job to do but for me it's counterproductive to continue to look back. All I can do is continue to look forward, move forward, continue to head in the right direction, focus on the season and get myself prepared to be the best player I can be."

Braun got the rough treatment from fans on the road last year and realizes it will be worse in 2014 after finally admitting to PED use and taking his suspension.
"I've dealt with it the last couple of years so I think I have some idea what to expect," he said. "But I never really waste my time focusing on things that are out of my control. All I can do is deal with things as they come, deal with things to the best of my ability and that's what I intend to do."

As for the time when he was suspended, Braun said, "It was challenging. It was difficult to be away from the game. It was disappointing for me to be away from my teammates and the sport I enjoy playing so much.

"There was no easy part. None of it was easy. There's no blueprint that this is how you deal with these things or handle the situation. Basically, I made a mistake, I made a big mistake. All I can try to do from it is learn, grow, become a better person and move forward."

The tone of the media session was much different from the formal, on-field session at Maryvale two springs ago when Braun came out verbally firing, attacking the MLB drug program, the urine specimen collector and maintaining his innocence. There has been much water under the bridge since then, mostly turbulent, and he regrets telling more lies that day.

"Certainly, I wish I hadn't done the press conference," he said. "I wish that I had known then what I know now. If I had, certainly I wouldn't have done it at all. It's a different tone this day than it was that day. Like I said, I wish I could go back and not do the press conference at all."

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