Opponents react to Braun news
Thanks to some of my MLB.com colleagues for passing along reaction from around the league to Ryan Braun, who won his appeal of a drug suspension on Thursday:
Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman: “My stance on the whole issue is that Major League Baseball needs to do everything it can to eliminate the performance enhancing drug piece of the puzzle. I think the testing that we have in place now is very stringent. I think it’s a good system. Beyond that, I’m glad there’s testing in place. I’m glad that if Ryan was indeed falsely accused that he’s been exonerated. …
“If he got off on a technicality then I’m not in favor of it. But if he truly didn’t do it, I don’t want him to have his name drug through the mud over it. I don’t know enough of the particulars. There have been people who have gotten off in our judicial system that there has been a high degree of suspicion because there was some technical procedure of the law that was violated. It happens. I’m not saying that it happened in this case, I’m just saying it has happened in our judicial system. It’s not inconceivable that the same could happen in this case. But again, if he’s innocent, I don’t want any stigma attached to what he’s been able to do because he’s a tremendous player.”
Cards outfielder Jon Jay (who played with Braun at Miami): “It’s good for him. He’s one of the up-and-coming young guys who has established himself and had a great year last year. I’m happy for him.
“I spoke to him and congratulated him. I know it’s been a tough situation to deal with for him. I know the type of guy he is, and he has helped me out so much in my career. He’s definitely a guy I always look up to as a mentor.”
Cards manager Mike Matheny: “If I were in his shoes and I were innocent, I would sure want justice to prevail. I’m sure everybody went through the proper chains to make sure that justice was done and the right thing came about.
You look at that lineup without he and Prince [Fielder] in it and it certainly looks different. You put him back in there and he is an MVP player. It certainly helps Milwaukee.”
Angels reliever LaTroy Hawkins: “My reaction? Cool. Good for them. He just changed the landscape of that division. Him being out 50 games, that wouldn’t have been good for them. But he’s back, so, hey, I don’t know what happened.
“It had to be tough, but you know what, to me personally, you have to find the leak, because it shouldn’t have come out. It’s not part of the agreement. Find the leak. Find the leak. There’s nothing you can do about it now. The perception is already there, and in our society, you’re already guilty before being proven innocent. That’s just the way it is, in all walks of life.”
Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez (another former Miami teammate): “If there was guilt, he’d be guilty. There is just so many things that go on in a case, when you actually see it and you actually talk to somebody who is there. I talk to him about everything. I talk to him about a lot of things. And there are just a lot of things that didn’t make sense. He got off. He was proven innocent. That’s all we can say.
“We’ve been best friends for 10 years now. It’s a lot different when you’re talking about those situations, knowing somebody that well, and knowing what kind of person he is, and what kind of personality he is. And knowing, he never had to lie. From the very beginning, he told me, ‘I didn’t do anything.’ So you kind of pull for him.
“I believe him 100 percent when he told me that he didn’t do it. I believe you. There is no reason for you to have to lie to me. I felt like it was great news yesterday, when it came out that he was innocent and able to play.”
Pirates third baseman Casey McGehee: “I wasn’t shocked. All the time I’ve known him, I found Ryan to be very honest and open about everything. And all along he said he would be exonerated. Everyone was in such a hurry to condemn him, so I think a lot of people owe Ryan an apology. I consider him a good friend, and I’m happy for him. …
“There will still be people saying he got off on a technicality, but there are only three people (the panel) who heard all the facts and came up with a majority decision, and we have to move on. It’s good for baseball, too. One of the best players in the league will be on the field, able to do his job.”
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