Collector of Braun's sample refutes allegations
Responds to suggestions of tampering, says he followed protocol
Five days after Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun won his appeal of a 50-game suspension by blaming a faulty collection process, the collector of Braun's sample responded with a three-page statement.
Dino Laurenzi Jr. defended himself Tuesday, saying he followed Comprehensive Drug Testing protocol in handling Braun's urine sample, and he outlined the process in which he did so.
Laurenzi, who said the situation has taken an emotional toll on him, said he would not comment further on the situation. He has hired an attorney.
"This situation has caused great emotional distress for me and my family," Laurenzi said. "I have worked hard my entire life, have performed my job duties with integrity and professionalism, and have done so with respect to this matter and all other collections in which I have participated."
Laurenzi released his statement just as the Brewers were finishing a light workout at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix. Braun returned to the clubhouse and spent several minutes checking messages on his cellphone. Through a club spokesperson, he said he would not comment.
The 2011 National League Most Valuable Player became the first Major Leaguer to successfully appeal a suspected violation of MLB's Drug Treatment and Prevention Program. On Friday, a day after winning the appeal, Braun met with the media, insisting there was a faulty collecting process and that he was innocent. He specifically noted the gap between the collection and shipment of the sample to the testing laboratory in Montreal.
In his statement, Laurenzi detailed his handling of the sample, saying he "completed his collections" from Braun and two other Brewers at approximately 5 p.m. CT on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 1.
Laurenzi cited "the lateness of the hour" as the reason for not shipping the samples that day, noting that there was no FedEx office within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship on that day or the following day, a Sunday. As a result, Laurenzi said he followed CDT instructions in keeping the samples at his house, in his basement -- "sufficiently cool to store urine samples."
Laurenzi said he did not tamper with the samples in any way while they were in his custody, and he said that no one other than he and his wife were in the house while the samples, kept in a sealed Rubbermaid container, were in his basement.
"At no point did I tamper in any way with the samples," Laurenzi's statement read. "It is my understanding that the samples were received at the laboratory with all tamper-resistant seals intact."
Laurenzi said he has been a drug collector for CDT since 2005 and that he has performed more than 600 collections for MLB.
Michael Weiner, the executive director of the MLB Players Association, didn't fault the process, instead noting Braun's innocence and the system's success.
"Any strong program has to deter use, has to have appropriate penalties and also has to have a fair appeals process," Weiner said. "This doesn't take away from our process. Anybody that wants both a tough and fair program should be satisfied with this result."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter and AJ Cassavell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.