Phoenix - Place an obstacle in front of Ryan Braun, and he usually surmounts it, often with ease.
That well-documented fortitude will be challenged in a different and daunting way this season in light of the drug-test controversy that haunted the Milwaukee Brewers' star leftfielder throughout the off-season. The outcome was better than many expected when Braun avoided a 50-game suspension by winning his appeal to an arbitration panel. That decision generated debate from coast to coast as to whether he escaped on a technicality, which was the viewpoint of MLB officials. But it was a tremendous relief for Braun and the Brewers , who would have faced the devastating 1-2 punch of losing Prince Fielder to free agency and Braun for nearly a third of the season.
The verdict did not mean the matter would die a quick death, however.
"I'm not dumb enough to pretend this is going to go away," Braun said in his news conference after being exonerated. "I recognize that ...