PHOENIX — If the jeers at the Dodgers’ spring-training home Friday were any indication, Ryan Braun will be lustily booed when the Milwaukee Brewers visit Dodger Stadium in late May.
But Braun said the thought hasn’t crossed his mind.
“No, not really, to be honest with you,” Braun said. “It’s one of my favorite places to play, growing up in L.A. and being a Dodger fan. I don’t even know when we go back to Dodger Stadium.”
Braun, who attended Granada Hills High, tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during the playoffs last year. He got a 50-game suspension overturned last month by arguing his sample was handled improperly.
Braun’s home run in the Brewers’ 9-4 victory over the Dodgers was his second of the spring. He was one for three, which raised his spring average to .176.
Told there are probably fans in Los Angeles who remain suspicious of him and believe he stole the most-valuable-player award from the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp last year, Braun didn’t flinch.
“I don’t think about any of those things,” he said. “None of those things factor into my thought process in any way. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. It’s unfortunate and disappointing that people would make judgments or form an opinion without knowing what actually happened.”
But Braun has never offered an explanation for the positive test. Nor, he said, does he intend to.
“It’s over now,” he said. “I’m not going back into it. It’s not good for baseball, it’s not good for us, it’s not good for me, it’s not good for anybody.”
He said he doesn’t feel he has to be exonerated in the court of public opinion.
“I’ve already been exonerated,” Braun said. “Nobody else’s opinion matters to me, I’ve got to be honest with you. The people that are close to me, my friends, my family, they know the truth. Beyond that, people are always going to have an opinion.”
Braun counts Kemp as a friend. Kemp called him a few times over the last couple of months to offer support.
“He’s one of my good friends,” Braun said. “I have tremendous respect for him as a player, as a person and everything he’s accomplished.”
Said Kemp: “I’m doing the right thing, man. See if he’s OK, see how he’s doing.”
Kemp said if Dodgers fans boo Braun, they should do so because he is a great player. He doesn’t feel that Braun stole the MVP award from him.
“He earned it,” Kemp said.