MILWAUKEE -- Suspended Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has begun apologizing to teammates for lying about his involvement with performance-enhancing drugs, and a story posted on usatoday.com late Friday said he may be moving closer to making similar admissions to the public.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy and manager Ron Roenicke were among the Brewers personnel who spoke with Braun via telephone on Friday, though both declined to detail those conversations when asked by MLB.com.
USA Today cited "friends" who spoke on the condition of anonymity in reporting that Braun will admit publicly to using PEDs during the 2011 season, when a leg injury sidelined him for the All-Star Game, and will issue apologies along with his explanation. The newspaper did not specify the time or place of Braun's planned comments, though a sidebar initially attached to the story said they were expected Monday.
A Brewers spokesperson said he was unaware of a timetable for Braun to speak. He has made no statements since MLB announced Braun's season-ending suspension on July 22.
News of a pending press event came the same day ESPN.com brought to light a defamation lawsuit filed against Braun by a former friend last month alleging, in part, that Braun's use of performance-enhancing drugs dates back to his years at the University of Miami.
Braun's attorney, Howard Weitzman, released a statement to ESPN disputing those claims.
"This lawsuit is an unfortunate attempt to capitalize on Ryan's recent press attention for taking responsibility for his actions," the statement read. "The factual allegations and the legal claims have absolutely no merit. We believe the lawsuit will be dismissed."
Roenicke spoke to Braun on Friday, but said he was unaware of the new allegation.
"I don't know enough about it to really make a comment," said Roenicke, who in previous comments urged Braun to break his silence. "I don't know if he's going to reappear here [in Milwaukee]. I talked to him today, and we didn't talk about that."
But as for Braun addressing the media in general, Roenicke said, "That was part of the discussion."
What else did they talk about?
"Some other things that were going on with him, just how he's doing and some other things I can't talk about," said Roenicke, who described Braun as "in a good frame of mind."
Braun is in the midst of a 65-game suspension that resulted from Major League Baseball's investigation into the Miami wellness clinic Biogenesis. Friday's ESPN report marked the first allegation that Braun took PEDs before 2011, when a urine sample provided by Braun tested positive for elevated testosterone.
The former friend who is suing Braun, Ralph Sasson, reportedly said in his lawsuit that he was retained by Braun's representatives to conduct background research on Dino Laurenzi Jr., the man who collected the urine sample that triggered Braun's positive test in October 2011.
According to the lawsuit, Sasson and the Braun camp settled a subsequent dispute about Sasson's payment after the sides agreed to a non-disclosure agreement. But Sasson alleges that Braun violated the agreement when he made defamatory statements about Sasson to undisclosed parties.
Sasson also alleges that Braun committed academic fraud at Miami and broke NCAA rules by accepting money while in school, and that Braun urged Sasson to sabotage ESPN's investigative reporting, which led to the original December 2011 story about Braun facing a suspension.