Published November 20, 2014
The man who collected Ryan Braun's urine sample says he was only following instructions when he waited two days to ship the package to a testing facility after he couldn't locate a nearby FedEx office that was open.
Dino Laurenzi Jr. issued a statement on Tuesday saying he wanted to "set the record straight" after Braun, a Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, became the first major leaguer to have a suspension reversed through arbitration.
Braun had a 50-game ban for a positive drug test overturned last week and the collector Laurenzi said the "situation has caused great emotional distress for me and my family" since his name was released to the media.
Laurenzi, whose full-time job is the director of rehabilitation services at a health care facility, said he is a member of the National Athletic Trainers' Association and the Wisconsin Athletic Trainers' Association and has been a collector for Comprehensive Drug Testing since 2005.
He said he has performed more than 600 collections for Major League Baseball over the same time period, including postseason collections in four separate years involving five different clubs.
Laurenzi said he collected samples from Braun and two other players on October 1, three days after the Brewers wrapped up the regular season, and secured the samples according to protocol.
He also said he was following protocol when, after completing the collections at Miller Park around 5 p.m. and finding no FedEx offices within 50 miles of the stadium that would ship packages on that day or the following Sunday, he took them home and stored them in his basement.
He said CDT instructions say collectors should safeguard any samples in their homes until FedEx can immediately ship them to the lab "rather than having the samples sit for one day or more at a local FedEx office." He said the protocol has been in place since he started collecting in 2005 and there had been other instances where he had to store samples in his home "for at least one day, all without incident."
"The FedEx Clinic Pack containing Mr. Braun's samples never left my custody. Consistent with CDT's instructions, I brought the FedEx Clinic Pack containing the samples to my home," he said. "Immediately upon arriving home, I placed the FedEx Clinic Pack in a Rubbermaid container in my office which is located in my basement. My basement office is sufficiently cool to store urine samples. No one other than my wife was in my home during the period in which the samples were stored.
"The sealed Specimen Boxes were not removed from the FedEx Clinic Pack during the entire period in which they were in my home. On Monday, October 3, I delivered the FedEx Clinic Pack containing Mr. Braun's Specimen Box to a FedEx office for delivery to the laboratory on Tuesday, October 4. At no point did I tamper in any way with the samples. It is my understanding that the samples were received at the laboratory with all tamper-resistant seals intact."
Laurenzi's statement was obtained by media outlets through a law firm.
ESPN broke the news of Braun's failed test in December. The report said that Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in a urine sample taken during the playoffs. Braun quickly called for another analysis of the sample, but those test results were also positive.
Last week, Braun said he tried to respect the process after his positive test was leaked even though "there were a lot of times I wanted to come out and tell the entire story." He said research revealed there were numerous FedEx offices open late on the Saturday in question and the sample could have been delivered that day.
Braun batted .332 with 33 homers and 111 runs batted in over 150 games last season. He was named an All-Star Game starter for the fourth straight season and also earned his fourth Silver Slugger award.