Ryan Braun pee collector says he followed protocols

Braun's suspension was overturned even though the sample collector insists the NL MVP's urine was handled properly.
Braun's suspension was overturned even though the sample collector insists the NL MVP's urine was handled properly.

Last week, reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun's 50-game steroid suspension was surprisingly overturned by an arbitration panel.

The key vote on the three-arbitrator panel ruled Braun's October 2011 pee sample was unreliable because it was stored for two days in the sample collector's home before being shipped to MLB's lab. During a news conference last week, the Milwaukee Brewers star said there were "a lot of things that we learned about the collector" that "made us very concerned and very suspicious about what could have actually happened" before the sample was shipped.

Yesterday, sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. struck back, insisting in a statement that he didn't tamper with the sample and "followed the same procedure in collecting Mr. Braun's sample as I did in the hundreds of other samples I collected under the [drug-testing] Program."

Laurenzi said he finished collecting samples from Braun and two other players about 5 p.m. on a Saturday, and didn't have time to get to a FedEx to ship the samples before the 5 p.m. shipping deadline. FedEx doesn't ship on Sunday, so Laurenzi either had to bring the samples home for storage until Monday or drop them off at FedEx, where they would sit for two days.

"In that circumstance, [Comprehensive Drug Testing, Laurenzi's employer] has instructed collectors since I began in 2005 that they should safeguard the samples in their homes until FedEx is able to immediately ship the sample to the laboratory, rather than having the samples sit for one day or more at a local FedEx office," Laurenzi wrote.

Laurenzi said he "sealed the bottles containing Mr. Braun's A and B samples with specially-numbered, tamper-resistant seals, and Mr. Braun signed a form certifying, among other things, that the specimens were capped and sealed in his presence and that the specimen identification numbers on the top of the form matched those on the seals."

Braun wouldn't comment on Laurenzi's statement, but sources told ESPN they are convinced the sample came from Braun, and that the positive test result was correct. ESPN's sources emphasized that the FedEx package sent to the Montreal laboratory handling the test was sealed three times with tamper-proof seals -- one on the box, one on a plastic bag inside the box, and one on the vial that contained the urine.

See also:
-- Ryan Braun's steroid suspension overturned because pee collector thought FedEx was closed

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