Collector says he acted as instructed
A man identifying himself as the collector who took Ryan Braun's urine samples last fall said he followed the same protocol with the Milwaukee Brewers slugger as he had with hundreds of previous samples.
In an email sent Tuesday to ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney and other media outlets, Dino Laurenzi Jr. said he issued the statement "to set the record straight" about his role in testing Braun, whose 50-game suspension under baseball's drug policy was overturned Thursday.
Laurenzi said that at the time of the test, he obtained a signature from the NL MVP, stipulating that the samples were capped and sealed in his presence.
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"This situation has caused great emotional distress for me and my family. I have worked hard my entire life, have performed my job duties with integrity and professionalism, and have done so with respect to this matter and all other collections in which I have participated," Laurenzi said, directing all further requests for comment to his lawyer.
Laurenzi's lawyer, Boyd M. Johnson III of WilmerHale, said Laurenzi would have no further comment.
"Mr. Laurenzi just wanted to set the record straight, and now he has done exactly that," Johnson said in a statement.
Braun tested positive in October for elevated testosterone, and ESPN's "Outside The Lines" revealed the positive test in December. His case marked the first time a baseball player has successfully challenged a drug-related penalty in a grievance.
Friday, Braun proclaimed his innocence at a news conference. He said the collector, whom he did not identify by name, had kept the samples for 44 hours in his home, believing that the FedEx office he was to use to ship the samples for testing was closed.
Braun said Friday that at least five FedEx locations within 5 miles were open until 9 p.m. ET and there also was a 24-hour location. He said the sample wasn't left with FedEx until 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 3.
Braun said because of the delay, the testing was "fatally flawed."
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"I don't honestly know what happened to it in that 44-hour period," he said.
Tuesday, Laurenzi said he was following protocols set by Comprehensive Drug Testing, his employer, in keeping the samples until they could be shipped. He said the samples never left his custody and that no one other than his wife was in his home while the samples were stored.
"Given the lateness of the hour that I completed my collections, there was no FedEx office located within 50 miles of Miller Park that would ship packages that day or Sunday. Therefore, the earliest that the specimens could be shipped was Monday, October 3," Laurenzi said.
"In that circumstance, CDT 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 said in the statement.
Laurenzi said in the statement that he stored the samples in a "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."
He added: "The protocol has been in place since 2005 when I started with CDT and there have been other occasions when I have had to store samples in my home for at least one day, all without incident."
Laurenzi said he has been a collector for Comprehensive Drug Testing since 2005, conducting more than 600 collections since then, in addition to postseason collections for five major league teams.
"I followed the same procedure in collecting Mr. Braun's sample as I did in the hundreds of other samples I collected under the program," Laurenzi said of his collection of Braun's urine samples on Oct. 1.
I have worked hard my entire life, have performed my job duties with integrity and professionalism, and have done so with respect to this matter and all other collections in which I have participated.” -- Dino Laurenzi Jr.
"I 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."
Although MLB officials would not comment on the record, sources told ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson they are still convinced that the sample tested came from Braun, and that the positive test result was correct. They emphasized that the FedEx package that arrived at 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.
Information from ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson and ESPN enterprise unit investigative reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn was used in this report.
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