Baseball's Reigning MVP Wins Appeal On Positive Drug Test

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Last year's National League MVP has just won an appeal on a positive drug test, which means he will not be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2012 season.

Two of the three on the appeals panel agreed with Ryan Braun's argument that his sample was contaminated and resulted in a false positive. According The New York Times, Major League Baseball "vehemently disagreed" with the decision, while Braun issued a statement saying he was "pleased and relieved by today's decision."

The AP reports:

"MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred and union head Michael Weiner are part of the arbitration panel, and management and the union almost always split their votes, leaving [Shyam] Das, the independent panel member, to make the decision.

"Manfred said management disagreed with the decision by Das. It is the first time a drug suspension has been overturned in a grievance, baseball officials said.

The Times gives us a bit of background on the case:

"The first test result revealed that Braun had elevated levels of testosterone in his body. The test showed a prohibited substance in Braun's body, but not a steroid, according to a person familiar with the results.

"Braun learned of the result in late October and insisted that the test was flawed. He took a second test done by an independent laboratory that showed he had normal levels of testosterone, the person said. Braun's lawyers argued that the first sample was improperly handled and the results were therefore flawed.

"Under Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the testing service, Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc., 'absent unusual circumstance' is supposed to send specimens to the testing laboratory in Montreal on the same day they are collected. Braun's lawyers argued that his sample was not sent for roughly 48 hours."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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