February 28, 2012
MLB Notes: Collector rebuffs charge of tampering in Braun case
By QMI Agency
A drug-test collector is denying he tampered with Ryan Braun's urine sample, saying the insinuation is causing him and his family "emotional distress."
"I followed the same procedure in collecting Mr. Braun's sample as I did in the hundreds of other samples I collected under the (MLB drug program)," Dino Laurenzi Jr. said in a statement released Tuesday regarding a test in October which showed the Milwaukee Brewers slugger had elevated testosterone levels.
"At no point did I tamper in any way with the samples."
Braun won an appeal, seemingly on a technicality -- it took 44 hours for the sample to get to the lab -- but claimed his innocence and implied that someone had meddled with his specimen.
"Given the lateness of the hour that I completed my collections, there was no FedEx office located within 50 miles of (Milwaukee's) Miller Park that would ship packages that day or Sunday," Laurenzi said.
He said collectors are instructed, under those circumstances, to "safeguard the samples in their homes until FedEx is able to immediately ship the sample to the laboratory."
Laurenzi is the director of rehabilitation services at a health care facility. He has worked as a drug-test collector since 2005.
"This situation has caused great emotional distress for me and my family," Laurenzi said, adding that he has performed his duties with integrity and professionalism.
L.A. STILL DODGERTOWN
Claiming he didn't want to diss the big-spending cross-town Los Angeles Angels, Don Mattingly said Tuesday the Dodgers remain the kings of L.A.
"I know (Angels owner Arte) Moreno does a great job down there in Anaheim and (manager) Mike (Scioscia) does a great job and they've had a great run," Dodgers manager Mattingly said.
"But we're the Dodgers. It's not going to change.
"It's kind of like the Mets and the Yankees. "No matter what the Mets (do) ... the Yankees are the team (in New York)."
The Angels have made an off-season splash in Los Angeles by signing big-name free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.
Added Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp: "There is only one Los Angeles team. That's the L.A. Dodgers."
FRANKLY, IT'S A PR MOVE
Terry Francona wants to make himself perfectly clear in his verbal sparring match with Bobby Valentine: The decision by the Boston Red Sox manager to go public in banning booze from the house was a publicity ploy.
"It's certainly more than a PR move," Francona, now an ESPN analyst, said.
"If you're going to make this rule, it can be external or internal. They made it external so the fans would hear it. I think it's like a public apology, like 'We know we messed up (by allowing pitchers to drink beer in the clubhouse during games last season), and we're going to do better.' It's not just a PR move, but that's part of what it is."
Francona, the former Red Sox manager, got some pushback from Valentine after making the initial "PR move" comment Monday.
After one season in Chicago with the Cubs, Carlos Pena is fitting in again with the Tampa Bay Rays. Two hours after a spring training workout, the slugging first baseman was talking hitting with shortstop Sean Rodriguez and right fielder Matt Joyce. Earlier, he dropped off a book in manager Joe Maddon's office about leadership principles. "For as good of a player as he is, and he is very, very good, he is an even better teammate and person," Maddon said. "I can't tell you how nice it is to have him back." ... Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman -- who hit .282 with 21 home runs and 76 RBI in 2011 -- injured his right knee Tuesday. The 22-year-old will be examined Wednesday by a specialist in Orlando, Fla. ... Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson did stretching exercises with his teammates Tuesday but he was not allowed to pitch because he has yet to pass a concussion test. He will re-tested Thursday. Hanson suffered a concussion in a car crash Feb. 20le accident on Feb. 20 ... Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox said the sour relationship between general manager Kenny Williams and former manager Ozzie Guillen affected the team last season. Konerko told ESPN.com the Sox were "just giving away games."