Ryan Braun’s testosterone levels were “insanely high,” says source close to the MVP outfielder

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Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is passionately fighting a positive performance-enhancing drug test result that would land him a 50-game suspension if upheld at an arbitration hearing in January. His side of the story: the result was false — a false positive.

Braun told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel late Saturday night that he’s “completely innocent” of using synthetic testosterone, and now a source close to the 2011 National League MVP has suggested to Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News that the results of the positive test were too high to be taken seriously. As in, they were at a dangerous level.

Here’s more from Thompson and the Daily News:

Ryan Braun’s original test for performance-enhancing drugs as the playoffs were winding down in October was “insanely high, the highest ever for anyone who has ever taken a test, twice the level of the highest test ever taken,” said a source familiar with the developing case in which Ryan was reported to have tested positive for an elevated level of testosterone caused by a synthetic substance, triggering a possible 50-game suspension.

The never-before-seen ratio, according to the source, is one of several “highly unusual circumstances.”

Braun will likely enlist doctors and health experts to help plead his case — that an elite athlete wouldn’t mess around with such crazy levels of testosterone. But here’s the other side: Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports spoke Sunday with a source connected to the World Anti-Doping Agency — a group of scientists who got a look at Braun’s test sample — and was told that a false-positive is “almost impossible.”

Also, a source told the Daily News that Major League Baseball has never overturned a PED test appeal. Players are 0-for-13. So even if the almost-impossible happened, it might not really matter for Braun.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.