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Drug procedures studied

Braun ruling has baseball, players talking changes

NEW YORK – There may never be a written decision explaining why Ryan Braun’s drug suspension was overturned.

The arbitrator who threw out the 50-game suspension of the N.L. MVP has been asked by the players’ union and management to hold off giving his reasoning while they negotiate changes to their rules for collecting specimens, people familiar with the case said.

If players and owners reach agreement on the changes, the Feb. 23 decision by arbitrator Shyam Das to overturn the penalty for the Milwaukee outfielder could be allowed to stand without any written explanation, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the process is designed to be confidential.

Baseball’s labor contract says there should be a written decision within 30 days of an arbitrator’s ruling.

“It’s obviously disappointing because people deserve to know what the basis for the case being overturned is, and frankly the athlete should have that right as well,” Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said Monday. “Certainly an innocent athlete would want that opportunity.”

Meanwhile, the sides already have made some changes to collection procedures as a result of Das’ decision.

Employees of Comprehensive Drug Testing, who take the specimens from players, are now required to drop off the samples at a Federal Express office on the same day they are collected, provided an office is open in the vicinity. If not, collectors should take the specimens home rather than leave them in a drop box.