Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Moving on in Milwaukee Reigning MVP Braun Trying to Overcome Controversy

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Moving on in Milwaukee Reigning MVP Braun Trying to Overcome Controversy

Article excerpt

MILWAUKEE -- For Ryan Braun, winning an appeal of a 50-game suspension was only his first step toward redemption.

Now the Milwaukee Brewers slugger is out to show fans that he can shake off what became a tumultuous offseason after a failed drug test that tarnished his reputation, and regain the form that made him the National League MVP last season.

Speaking Friday before the Brewers' opener against the St. Louis Cardinals, Braun said he's looking forward to the chance to prove he can handle what transpired.

"Of course," Braun said. "It's not so much about proving anybody wrong as it much as it is proving the people who all believed in me and supported me right. So I'm definitely excited. Very motivated."

Fans gave Braun a rousing ovation in pregame introductions and were even louder during his first few trips to the plate, cheering and chanting "M-V-P!"

After helping power the Brewers to the National League Championship Series and winning the league's MVP award, Braun's achievements came under suspicion when ESPN reported that he failed a drug test with a high testosterone level.

Braun went on to win his appeal and avoid a 50-game suspension. Then he made his case to the fans upon his arrival in spring training, saying that chain of custody issues with his urine sample cast doubt on the validity of the test.

That didn't end the controversy; baseball officials were unhappy with the arbitrator's decision, and a urine sample collector issued a statement saying he followed proper protocols and that there was no evidence of tampering. Braun also has hinted that there's more to the story than he's letting on, refusing to share those details.

And Braun struggled for much of spring training.

But with the regular season set to start, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke likes what he has seen and heard from Braun.

"Right now, he's in a really good place," Roenicke said. "First couple weeks of spring? A little difficult. He's back to the guy he was, I saw last year. …

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