The man who collected Ryan Braun’s sample is revealed

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Ryan Braun made some pretty strong comments yesterday about how his urine sample was handled by the collector, saying that he was a “victim of a process that completely broke down and failed.”

We’re still hearing different information regarding where the sample was stored in the collector’s home — some reports say it was stored in a cooler in his basement while others say it was left in a tupperware container on a desk — but the identity of the collector is no longer a mystery.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported yesterday afternoon that the collector’s name is Dino Laurenzi. He has collected specimens for MLB since 2005 and even the NFL and NHL through his job with Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc.

The Associated Press left a message on Laurenzi’s cell phone seeking comment, but they were able to speak with the collector’s father, Dino Laurenzi, Sr. He said his son was a collector for baseball’s testing program and is currently at spring training. He didn’t know his son was involved in Braun’s case, but said that any accusations about his conduct “would be unfounded.”

“He’s a straight shooter. Never been in trouble,” Laurenzi Sr. said.

Laurenzi sounds like a pretty experienced individual by all accounts, so one wonders who stands to benefit by revealing his name to the press. It’s probably not Braun or even arbitrator Shyam Das.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.