MLB announced that Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun has been suspended for the remainder of the season for “violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.”
Braun has already accepted the suspension and the former MVP issued a statement that said: “I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.”
Milwaukee has 65 games remaining and Braun has been suspended without pay, which means he’ll lose about $3.5 million. He finishes the year hitting .298 with nine homers and an .869 OPS in 61 games, missing time and seeing his production suffer due to a lingering thumb injury.
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Last year Braun successfully appealed a 50-game suspension for elevated testosterone levels on the grounds that the test sample was handled improperly, holding a press conference to proclaim his innocence and saying, among other things: “My name was dragged through the mud. … Today is for anyone who has been wrongly accused and everyone who stood up for what’s right. It’s about future players and the game of baseball.”
In light of today’s news, the quotes from that 2012 press conference are astounding.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.