The odds were stacked against Ryan Braun, but the outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers had his 50-game suspension overturned by a baseball arbitrator on Thursday, the first time a player has successfully challenged a drug-related suspension.
The Major League Baseball Players Association announced the decision in a statement on Thursday, but there was no reason given for why the reigning National League MVP’s suspension was overturned.
“Today, the arbitration panel announced its decision, by a 2-1 vote, to sustain Ryan Braun’s grievance challenging his 50-game suspension by the Commissioner’s Office,” the players association said.
“Under the Joint Drug Agreement, a player’s successful challenge to a suspension normally would not have been made public. The parties have agreed, given the particulars of this case, that an announcement is appropriate.”
The decision comes one day before Braun was scheduled to join his Brewers teammates for spring training.
“I am very pleased and relieved by today’s decision,” Braun said in a statement. “It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.
“We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances. I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide. I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year.”
Braun batted .332 and hit 33 home runs for the Brewers in 2011.
Braun reportedly tested positive after the season for elevated levels of testosterone last year.
Braun’s spokesman released a statement last year saying that “there are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan’s complete innocence” and “there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program.”
-With Associated Press