Arbitrator asked to withhold Ryan Braun report

A baseball source confirmed an Associated Press report Monday that management and the players' union requested arbitrator Shyam Das to withhold his written report on Ryan Braun's successful appeal of a positive drug test while they continue to work on changes to the collection process.

Under the Major League Baseball drug policy, the arbitrator is supposed to submit a written opinion within 30 days of awarding an appeal. Das ruled on Feb. 23 in favor of the Milwaukee Brewers all-star leftfielder, who appealed a pending 50-game suspension for a positive test for a banned substance at the start of the playoffs last fall.

Das ruled in favor because of a 40-hour delay by collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. in shipping Braun's urine sample to the testing lab in Montreal. That ruling prompted management and the players' union to begin tightening rules in the drug agreement for shipping samples.

The AP report said once an agreement is reached on the changes, Das' decision could be allowed to stand without a written explanation. The baseball source said it had not yet been determined if that would be the case.

Under the MLB drug agreement, an arbitrator's written report is not made public so whether Das submits one or not, his further explanation would remain confidential. The entire process was supposed to be confidential, but news of Braun's positive test result leaked to the media and the entire episode played out publicly.

AP reported that changes already have been made to the collection process to avoid another dispute such as the one with Braun. After collecting Braun's sample last Oct. 1, Laurenzi took it home because there were no FedEx offices within 50 miles of Miller Park that shipped on Saturday. Laurenzi did not ship the sample until the following Monday, a delay that became the crux of Braun's successful appeal.

Das heard two days of testimony in New York in late January and eventually ruled in Braun's favor primarily because of the 40-hour delay in shipping, which he considered questionable.

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