Exonerated Braun says testing protocol fatally flawed

By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - National League MVP Ryan Braun, who successfully appealed a positive doping test that would have brought him a 50-game suspension, said on Friday the protocol process was "fatally flawed" and that he was totally innocent of wrongdoing.

The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder said his urine sample was not sent to the lab for a period of 44 hours and subsequently revealed levels of testosterone that were three-times higher than ever previously found in Major League Baseball testing.

Braun said he took a doping test on October 1 during the MLB playoffs and was told on October 19 that he tested positive, which automatically brings suspension.

On Thursday, an arbitrator ruled in favor of Braun's appeal and, for the first time in MLB testing, overruled the finding of a positive test and the voided the suspension.

"The program in the way that it was applied to me was absolutely fatally flawed," said Braun. "I feel like it's been unjust and unfair."

Braun, who batted .332 with 33 home runs, 111 runs batted in and 33 stolen bases in 2011, said dealing with the specter of suspension was the biggest challenge he has ever faced.

(Reporting By Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)