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 this is going to be a c...