The first major report since the original flurry of news surrounding Ryan Braun’s positive test has surfaced, this time from TMZ of all sources. The report is thin on the details, but according to a source “directly connected with Major League Baseball,” Braun’s positive test was not for a steroid or other performance enhancing drug, but instead for a medication for a “private medical issue.”
Unfortunately for Braun and the Brewers, Major League Baseball tends not to care what triggers the positive test. The sport generally has a zero-tolerance policy with these tests, and even if it comes out that Braun’s test was for a perfectly legitimate medical issue, the fact that he did not have an exemption (and he doesn’t for anything, as far as any reports so far indicate) will likely result in a 25-game suspension (for a “stimulant,” as was the case with Mike Cameron) or a 50-game suspension (as is the norm for PED-related cases, or the Manny Ramirez case, which involved fertility drugs).
Still, we don’t really know exactly what happens in the typical appeal for these cases because MLB has been able to prevent leaks in the past. Publically, no player has ever won an appeal, but we have reports that Brewers minor-leaguer Brendan Katin had a test overturned as well as a mysterious tweet from Jimmy Rollins indicating he knows of another similar case.
So, even with this new information, there is still a haze over the full details of the case. What was Braun’s medical condition? What does TMZ mean by “directly connected to Major League Baseball?” Could this case have developed differently without the leak? It still seems like there is a long ways to go before we even approach resolution.