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Major league players sick of doping scandals

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NEW YORK -- Protective no more, baseball players are downright disgusted these days with doping.

Now they are demanding even stiffer suspensions for those caught cheating.

"It's a new generation of athletes that are standing up," Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said Tuesday. "The culture's been flipped on its head."

When Ryan Braun accepted a season-ending 65-game suspension Monday rather than fight Major League Baseball over evidence he used performance-enhancing drugs, fellow players appeared tired of those who cast shadows on the sport.

"They're lying to the fans," Los Angeles Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson said. "They're lying to their teammates. They're lying to their GMs, their owners, and they're going to get caught."

Skip Schumaker of the Los Angeles Dodgers said Braun, the 2011 NL MVP for the Milwaukee Brewers, let him down.

"Watching him talk right now makes me sick," Schumaker said. "I have an autographed Braun jersey in my baseball room that I'll be taking down. I don't want my son identifying what I've worked so hard to get to and work so hard to have -- I don't want him comparing Braun to me."

Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who finished second to Braun in the 2011 MVP vote, said the Milwaukee slugger should be stripped of the honour.

"We had conversations, and I considered him a friend," Kemp said. "I don't think anybody likes to be lied to, and I feel like a lot of people have felt betrayed."

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Braun was guilty.

"You don't accept a deal unless you're guilty," he said. "It's another black eye for our game. I know this game is very resilient, and there's been a lot of scandals over the years, but you get tired of it."

He may soon be facing his own problem -- with a teammate.

More than a dozen players have been targeted by MLB in its probe of the closed anti-aging clinic Biogenesis of America, including three-time AL MVP Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees.

The next step will be for MLB to inform the union of additional players it intends to penalize, which could happen as early as a meeting on Thursday, a person familiar with the probe said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

New York expects A-Rod could face a much harsher penalty than the one Braun agreed to, a second person familiar with the case said, also speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

The Yankees anticipate Rodriguez could be accused of using PEDs over multiple seasons, of recruiting other athletes for the clinic, of attempting to obstruct MLB's investigation, and of not being truthful with MLB in the past when he discussed his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty two years go to a U.S. federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs from Canada into the United States.

Despite Braun's suspension, Kemp has no shot at claiming the MVP trophy. The Baseball Writers' Association of America has said repeatedly that it will not revisit any of its award votes.

"The decision was already made. He won it," said Jack O'Connell, the BBWAA's secretary-treasurer.


-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 24, 2013 D2

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