Ryan Braun finally admits drug use in 2011

A month after acknowledging only that he made "mistakes," Ryan Braun admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs during his

NL MVP season of 2011.

The suspended Milwaukee slugger said he took a cream and a lozenge containing banned substances while rehabilitating an injury.

"It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately,"

Braun said in a statement released by the Brewers.

Braun tested positive for elevated testosterone in October 2011, but his 50-game suspension was overturned when an arbitrator

ruled that the urine sample was mishandled.

While Braun took full responsibility for his

actions and apologized to the collector of the urine sample, teammates

and Commissioner

Bud Selig among others, the statement still leaves several key

questions unanswered.

Among them: Who gave Braun the PEDs and where did they come from? What was the exact substance in the products? Did he know

the cream and lozenge were tainted at the time he took them?

Last month Braun accepted a 65-game suspension resulting from Major League Baseball's investigation of the now-closed Biogenesis

of America anti-aging clinic, which was accused of providing banned substances to players.

"By coming forward when I did and waiving my

right to appeal any sanctions that were going to be imposed, I knew I

was making

the correct decision and taking the first step in the right

direction," he said. "It was important to me to begin my suspension

immediately to minimize the burden on everyone I had so negatively

affected — my teammates, the entire Brewers organization,

the fans and all of MLB."

Braun was the first of 14 players

disciplined this year as a result of the Biogenesis probe. Twelve

accepted 50-game penalties,

including a trio of All-Stars: Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz,

Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta and San Diego shortstop Everth

Cabrera.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is appealing his 211-game penalty, assessed for violations of the drug program and labor

contract.

In his initial meeting with MLB investigators to discuss Biogenesis, Braun declined to answer questions. But in the statement,

he said he initiated a second session with MLB where he admitted his guilt and began discussing a penalty.

"After my interview with MLB in late June of

this year, I came to the realization that it was time to come to grips

with the

truth," Braun said. "I was never presented with baseball's

evidence against me, but I didn't need to be, because I knew what

I had done."

Braun's urine tested positive for elevated

testosterone from a sample collected on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, after

Milwaukee's

NL division series opener against Arizona. The drug collector,

Dino Laurenzi Jr., stored the samples from Braun and two other

players at home and dropped them off at a Federal Express office

on Monday, rather than send them immediately, as specified

in baseball's drug collection rules.

The players' association argued that the specimen was handled improperly, and arbitrator Shyam Das overturned the discipline

on Feb. 23 last year.

During a news conference the following day on the field at Milwaukee's spring training stadium in Phoenix, Braun proclaimed

he had been vindicated. A week later Bruan's lawyer criticized Laurenzi when the collector defended himself.

"I have no one to blame but myself. I know

that over the last year and a half I made some serious mistakes, both in

the information

I failed to share during my arbitration hearing and the comments I

made to the press afterwards," Braun said. "I have disappointed

the people closest to me — the ones who fought for me because they

truly believed me all along. I kept the truth from everyone.

For a long time, I was in denial and convinced myself that I had

not done anything wrong."

After he accepted his suspension on July 22 — 50 games for the drug infraction and 15 games for his conduct at the time of

the grievance — Braun was heavily criticized by players around the major leagues.

"I thought this whole thing has been

despicable on his part," Detroit pitcher Max Scherzer said. "When he did

get caught,

he never came clean. He tried to question the ability of the

collector when he was caught red-handed. So that's why the whole

Braun situation, there is so much player outrage toward him."

But on Thursday, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said it's time to get past this.

"To me, it doesn't really matter what they say. Let's lay down the penalties and move on," he said. "I hope they continue

to catch them."