Originally written on Bronx Pinstripes  |  Last updated 7/23/13
  The Miami Biogenesis Lab investigation claimed its first victim on Monday. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has been suspended without pay for the rest of the 2013 season, a 65 game ban, effective immediately. Braun was adamant throughout the entire investigation that he was innocent, but when he was suspended, he backtracked and released a statement that most consider half assed and insincere. “As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect,” Braun said. “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.” Braun met with MLB investigators recently, and during that meeting the league reportedly laid out all of the evidence they have acquired. Rather than go through an appeals process, Braun’s side agreed to a plea deal and the negotiated suspension. Prior to the suspension, Braun had hit .298/.372/.498 (135 OPS) with nine home runs in 61 games while battling a nerve injury in his hand. He hit .332/.397/.597 (166 OPS) with 33 homers and 33 steals en route to winning the 2011 NL MVP Award, a few weeks before the positive test was announced and appealed. The suspension will cost him roughly $3.5 million in salary. He is still under contract for $117 million through 2020. The other big name on the list of 20+ players linked to the Biogenesis clinic, as we all know, is Alex Rodriquez. Rodriguez declined to answer MLB investigators questions when they interviewed him stating the Jenkins Rule allows players not to answer MLB investigators’ questions, and players are being advised that their answers could be used against them in a possible appeals process or additional legal matter. As did Braun, Rodriquez is obviously denying any use of performance enhancing drugs. Tony Bosch, the once owner of the Biogenesis Clinic and whistleblower in this case, is saying that the information he gave the MLB about Rodriguez is “far beyond” what he gave them for Braun. The MLB has receipts, checks, the whole nine yards and all though he hasn’t said it publicly, Rodriquez is expecting a suspension. There is no doubt that he is getting a suspension, the only question is how much. The MLB’s rule on PED use is: First offense: 50 games Second offense: 100 games Third offense: lifetime ban Now you could argue that Arod is on his second offense since the PED allegations back in 2009, but he will most likely file for an appeal that will last well into the off season if not longer. Rodriquez’ case is a little more complicated than Braun’s and should get a lot of people’s attention, not only because he plays for THE biggest franchise in baseball that is always in the spotlight, but because of his contract. Arod is still owed about $100 million of his record $275 million contract; if he gets suspended AFTER he makes it back onto the field for the Yankees, he doesn’t see a dime. If he is suspended BEFORE he is back on the field, he gets to keep most or all of that money. If he saw no way of escaping the punishment coming to him, it makes sense he’d want to protect the $100+ million he is still owed, and do so at all costs. Essentially that means beating MLB to the punch by proving that he can’t play any longer, that after his second hip surgery last winter, his body can’t withstand the rigors of playing baseball on a daily basis. If he can make that case before a suspension becomes official, either his Yankees or personal insurance policy that he filed right before he got his big extension, would allow him to keep all or most of the money he would otherwise lose. Is Rodriguez a cheater? Is he just trying to protect his beloved money? Or was he really the victim of a convenient freak grade 1 Quad strain the day before he was to rejoin the Yankees and the day before suspensions were being handed out? You be the judge. All of this is up in the air right now and until he is in pinstripes, on the field, or sitting back in Florida on unpaid leave, we will never know. The appeals process is a long and tedious one, and with the amount of money involved on Arod’s side, it could last years.  
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