3/22/2013 3:24 P.M. ET
Union chief Weiner discusses investigation with Braun
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner met briefly with Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun on Friday to discuss the status of MLB's investigation into the South Florida clinic accused of supplying players with banned substances.
"We've had conversations with all the players whose names have surfaced, Ryan included," said Weiner, who is making the Cactus League rounds for teams' annual union meetings. "I caught up with Ryan just in terms of what the current status is, but that was really about it."
Yahoo! Sports and ESPN have published records from the Biogenesis clinic that include Braun's name. Braun has said his lawyers consulted with the clinic's former boss, Anthony Bosch, during Braun's successful appeal of a suspension during the 2011-12 offseason, and that a dispute followed over payment for those services.
MLB is investigating further and has already suspended one Minor League player, Tigers pitcher Cesar Carillo, whose name appeared in Bosch's records. USA Today reported earlier this week that MLB is actively targeting Braun, prompting MLB vice president Rob Manfred to issue a statement saying, "Everyone whose name has surfaced surrounding the Miami New Times story and Biogenesis is being investigated with equal vigor."
Weiner was asked whether he believed Braun was being specifically targeted.
"MLB is disappointed that they lost the Ryan Braun case, but they're professionals and they understand they lost the Ryan Braun case, and that's it," Weiner said. "We've lost cases that we were disappointed in, and players wound up sitting out for 50 games, and we got over it. I expect that MLB is going to be professional with respect to all the players who have shown up in connection with the Biogenesis thing, and Ryan is included.
"You hear all kinds of different things, and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't heard that [Braun is a target]. But what I'm going to say is that I expect MLB to be professional, whether it's Ryan or any other player. To the extent they have any animus against Ryan over disappointment of a result of the arbitration case, I think they'll be professional about it."
Weiner also commented about a lawsuit filed Friday by MLB against Bosch and five others connected to Biogenesis, alleging the defendants harmed the sport by providing players with substances known to be banned. If allowed to proceed, the suit could allow baseball's investigators to subpoena records and compel depositions, and any evidence gathered could then be used to discipline the players involved.
"MLB informed us in advance that they were filing that lawsuit," Weiner said. "They believe it necessary to enforce, frankly, their contract with us, the Joint Drug Agreement, and the allegations are that the defendants interfered with that contract. We'll see where the lawsuit goes."
Baseball's current Collective Bargaining Agreement gives MLB power to suspend a player in the absence of a positive test if it collects what it deems sufficient evidence that a player committed an infraction.
"The Basic Agreement doesn't specify a threshold," Weiner said. "It just says that you can be suspended for a non-analytical positive even if you didn't test positive. It would be like any other disciplinary case, MLB has to prove the conduct occurred."
He added: "We've talked to all the players, and MLB has a right to talk to them as well. I expect those conversations are going to take place soon, either before or shortly after the season begins. I remain hopeful that we're going to work together with MLB to get to the bottom of whatever, if anything, comes out of the Miami story. At this point, it's just a story, but if there is anything there that is a violation of the program, it is our responsibility to deal with it. I hope that's the way we handle it. Players have, at this point, a very low patience for players who intentionally violate the program."