National League MVP Ryan Braun, who this past season led the Milwaukee Brewers to their first division title in nearly three decades, has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and faces a 50-game suspension if the initial finding is upheld, two sources familiar with the case told ESPN's Outside the Lines
Major League Baseball has not announced the positive test because Braun is disputing the result through arbitration.
A spokesman for Braun issued a statement Saturday: "There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program. While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated."
The 28-year-old Braun had to provide a urine sample for testing during the playoffs, and he was notified of the positive test sometime in late October - about a month before he was named the NL's most valuable player.
The positive result was triggered by elevated levels of testosterone in Braun's system, the sources also told Outside the Lines. A subsequent, more comprehensive test revealed the testosterone was synthetic - not produced by Braun's body.
The St. Louis Cardinals have reached agreement with shortstop Rafael Furcal on a two-year deal worth about $14 million, a baseball source told ESPN.com.
The deal is pending completion of a physical exam.
Furcal, 34, is a .282 career hitter with the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Cardinals. He hit .255 in 50 games with St. Louis after coming over from Los Angeles in a July trade deadline deal for minor-leaguer Alex Castellanos.
Furcal is a former rookie of the year and two-time all-star with 302 career stolen bases, but injuries have limited him to 97 and 87 games played in the last two seasons, respectively. He struggled with the Cardinals in October, hitting .194 (15 for 77) in the playoffs and the World Series.
Furcal recently underwent an appendectomy, according to reports, but he is recovering in Florida and expects to be ready in time for spring training.
The Furcal signing officially removes St. Louis as a potential destination for free agent Jimmy Rollins. Rollins' agent, Dan Lozano, was scheduled to talk by phone Saturday with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.