Could Thursday be when Ryan Braun returns for the DL? According to Adam McCalvy, that’s the goal. After a handful of successful batting cage sessions, Braun appears primed to return from the DL for the four-game series in Arizona. Ron Roenicke would like to give Braun a chance to play and “get his legs under him” then use the All-Star Break to help him recuperate from his first action in over a month.
Braun officially landed on the DL, for the first time in his MLB career, on June 14th. He hadn’t played since June 9th, the final game of the Phillies series, when he was pulled from the game after striking out in his first at-bat. Following that game, the Brewers were 25-37 (.403 WP%). Since, the Brewers have gone 10-15 (.400 WP%).
While Braun’s absence might have had a minimal effect on the Brewers’ record, his presence in the batting order should aid an offense that managed only one run and three hits against the Mets on Sunday. Before Braun hit the DL, the Brewers had scored 251 runs over 62 games, which averages out to 4.05 runs per game. In the 25 games since, the Brewers have scored 97 runs for an average of 3.88 runs per game.
Accompanying the news of Braun battling his way off the DL came a story from Tom Haudricourt regarding MLB’s investigation into Biogenesis. According to Haudricourt, if MLB decides to suspend any players due to their involvement with Biogenesis then expect the announcement to occur in the days following the All-Star Break and the end of July. With the names of suspected players, including Ryan Braun, already in the media, the suspensions would be announced then followed by the appeals process.
Normally, this process would occur behind closed doors but the high-profile nature of this story, since its inception, has already erased any chance of that happening. So, if suspensions transpire, it could add an extra layer of craziness to this year’s trade deadline. In addition, the appeals process would delay any suspensions for, at least, a month. If upheld, the suspensions could then carry over into the 2014 season, depending on their length.
Now, there’s no guarantee that any Biogenesis related suspensions will happen. But with the high-profile nature of this case, and the extent to which MLB has been willing to pursue it, it’s hard for me to believe that this will just go away. Someone must fall on this sword and MLB seems intent on making sure it’s not them.
Earlier this year, Braun admitted to having a connection with Biogenesis. Braun claimed that his lawyers consulted with Biogenesis founder, Anthony Bosch, during the successful appeal of his 2012 suspension. Bosch subsequently confirmed Braun’s explanation. Since then Bosch has agreed to talk to MLB investigators. If he corroborates Braun’s claim, then all would appear to be settled. If Bosch backtracks, then things could get interesting. Unless additional evidence comes to light, MLB could be basing their case against Braun with the words of Bosch, a source who has already proven himself untrustworthy.
While this story has been around all year, I have avoided writing about it. With so much speculation going around, I felt that it was best to avoid the rumor mill. As a fan eagerly awaiting the return of his bat to both the Brewers’ and my fantasy team’s line-up, I find it distressing that Braun could come back from the DL only to be thrown into the fire of a very public, in-season suspension appeal process. The last thing the Brewers need is to waste the second half of the season stressing over an appeals process that could keep Braun away an additional 50-100 games and possibly effect next season too.
Overall, this season has been frustrating for both the Brewers and their fans. Pitiful starting pitching, injuries, and overall poor play have sunk the team faster than expected. The Brewers and their fans have been waiting all season for the breaks to start going their way. If Haudricourt is correct, we should know by the end of July if the team has shaken the biggest monkey off its back.