WASHINGTON — Major League Baseball and the Players Association have closed the gap in the collection system that led to Brewers left-fielder Ryan Braun’s suspension being overturned under the sport’s Joint Drug Agreement, according to key officials with the league and the union.
“We made some immediate changes in the wake of the Braun decision and are discussing further adjustments,” Rob Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president of labor relations and human resources, said on Wednesday.
Union chief Michael Weiner, who was speaking at a luncheon of the National Press Club, said the sides agreed on a change in the policy for submitting testing samples.
“The [urine samples] have to be sent out the same day,” he said. “We’re in the process of discussing some other things.”
Braun was suspended for 50 games after a drug test turned up positive this past October. He appealed the decision under the auspices of the drug policy and an independent arbitrator ruled in February that the sample had not been adequately secured.
It was supposed to have been mailed out immediately to a drug lab for testing, but a Federal Express office in Milwaukee couldn’t deliver the sample the next day. The collector then brought it home for safe keeping before mailing it out two days later. Braun’s representatives argued that the sample was spoiled because of a breach in the delivery process.
After the arbitrator’s decision, Braun called the system “fatally flawed.” Apparently, now written instructions to collectors specify that samples have to be shipped the same day. The collector of Braun’s sample, Dino Laurenzi Jr., said in a statement that he stored it in his basement and had not tampered with the package. He also said that there were no FedEx offices within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship the sample that particular Saturday or the following Sunday.
Drugs tests will continue to be conducted on Saturdays, Weiner said.
“Right now, there are no other changes,” he added.
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