Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced on Monday that Milwaukee Brewers star slugger Ryan Braun, who won the National League Most Valuable Player award in 2011, has been suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season for violating baseball's drug prevention program.
Not only will Braun miss the Brewers' final 65 regular season games, but also any potential postseason games, as well. The Brewers are currently 18.5 games out of first place in the National League Central division, and 13.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot.
Braun has been suspended without pay. The 29-year-old entered the season with a salary of nearly $9.9 million, and will lose $3.7 million.
"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect," Braun said in a statement. "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."
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Braun was one of 20 players linked to the defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in South Florida. Anthony Bosch, the former director of Biogenesis, reportedly cooperated with MLB's investigation.
Such suspensions garner a 50-game suspension for a first offense. However, Braun appeared to have committed two offenses: being associated with Bosch, and for lying to investigators when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.
Braun maintained that he was innocent upon an earlier investigation in December 2011. He successfully appealed the drug test in January 2012, but it was widely reported that Braun won on a technicality, as the urine sample was mishandled.
In his seventh season in the Majors, Braun has hit 211 home runs, and has a career batting average of .312. In 225 at-bats in the 2013 season, Braun has just nine home runs with a .298 average. In 2012, Braun hit 41 home runs to go along with a batting average of .319.
Selig appears to be more serious than ever about cracking down on PEDs. With the Braun investigation nearing a close, the long-time commissioner defended baseball's drug-testing program before the All-Star game last week when he claimed "this sport is cleaner than it's ever been."
A dark cloud has hung over baseball following the admission of guilt of several former stars. There have been numerous calls from many in the media and baseball fans, who hoped the league would implement more stringent standards to prevent further PED use.
ESPN analyst Tim Kurkjian expects there will be a domino effect following Braun's suspension, as more players could be implicated and suspended for PED use. Alex Rodriguez and Nelson Cruz are two other notable names linked to recent allegations.
Braun represents the first suspension of the season. All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games in 2012. There were eight violations in 2012.
Braun, a former standout student athlete, has been heavily involved in the Milwaukee community. He has worked with a number of charities including Froedtert Hospital Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity.