Paul Konerko didn’t go after disgraced Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun on Tuesday, and the White Sox captain didn’t really have an opinion on Braun’s 65-game suspension for unspecified “violations” of baseball’s drug program.
Preferring to take a “big-picture” view, Konerko thinks, all in all, major-league baseball is doing a nice job of cleaning up its act.
“There’s always going to be hiccups in the testing policy, but where we were 10 years ago as a league and where it will be 10 years from now, I think a lot of people out there think it’s not clean, but I just can’t see how that’s possible with the amount we get tested,” Konerko said.
“Of course, there is always somebody trying to be ahead of what they test for, but just with the sheer amount of testing it’s hard.”
How much are major-leaguers tested for banned substances?
“A slow year, I’d say 4-6 times,” Konerko said. “One or two years ago, I think I got tested 10-11 times, because it’s all random and when your name comes up, you get tested.”
And if you think players are only tested from the start of spring training to the end of the season, think again.
“I got tested this off-season,” Konerko said. “They call you at home and you have to do it within 24 hours.”
Braun has ties to a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs, as do big-name players such as Alex Rodriguez, Bartolo Colon and Nelson Cruz.
One day, according to Konerko, major-league baseball should be completely clean.
“Teams are getting younger, and sooner or later all teams are going to be made up of guys that went through the entire minor-league system under testing,” Konerko said. “It’s working, it really is, but in any sport there are always things that happen, and that’s what you see here.
“But with the amount of testing they do, I can’t imagine anybody doing what they test for and getting away with it. I just don’t see it.”
Braun is catching heat on multiple fronts because after winning the National League MVP trophy in 2011 he was supposed to be suspended for the first 50 games of the 2012 season after testing positive for elevated testosterone levels.
Braun got off on a technicality, and he repeatedly denied doing anything against the rules.
His admission of guilt and willingness to take the 65-game suspension without pay Monday indicate that he lied all along, and now he has to live with the consequences.
“I can’t imagine,” said White Sox designated hitter/first baseman Adam Dunn of the Braun mess. “I don’t think I’d leave my house. You’re missing significant time and significant pay and plus your name is smeared all over everywhere. I don’t know how much worse it could be.”
Like Konerko, Dunn didn’t take any personal shots at Braun.
“I don’t care,” Dunn said. “It doesn’t affect me whatsoever what people do or don’t do. I couldn’t care less. The system is in place to catch people, and that’s what happened.
“I’ve known Brauny a long time, but how dumb can you be? It’s a shame because he’s one of the best out there.”
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