MLB commends Ryan Braun for taking responsibility. Which, OK. I guess he partially did.

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Ryan Braun and Major League Baseball have both issued statements in light of this afternoon’s bombshell suspension. First Braun:

“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect.  I realize now that I have made some mistakes.  I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.  This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization.  I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country.  Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates.  I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”

That’s nice. Although it doesn’t account for the statements he made last year in which he impugned the integrity — however obliquely — of the MLB contractor who was responsible for shipping his sample. Nor has he acknowledged that he lied in his public statements regarding the nature of his relationship with Anthony Bosch earlier this year when he said his legal team used him as a consultant.

But MLB seems willing to look past that and put the Braun chapter of this mess in the rear-view mirror:

“We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions,” said Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President, Economics & League Affairs for Major League Baseball. “We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter.  When Ryan returns, we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field.”

It seems that the evidence against Braun was pretty darn strong. And that Braun was one of the players Michael Weiner had in mind when he said last week that the MLBPA would be strongly counseling players against whom there was overwhelming evidence to not appeal.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.