MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is committed to keeping Ryan Braun on the team and knows the suspended slugger has a lot of work to do to repair his image.
The Brewers' owner made his first public comments Wednesday since issuing a statement Monday when Braun was suspended for the rest of the 2013 season for violations of Major League Baseball's drug policy.
Attanasio met with Braun in Milwaukee on Wednesday and then spoke to reporters during the Brewers' game against the San Diego Padres.
"Right now, the full expectation is to keep him, and the full expectation is that he is going to do the right things, he is going to say the right things, and he is going to put in a lot of hard work to get back into folks' good graces," Attanasio said.
"That is going to take some time. It's not like we are going to be at opening day next year and we're going to be through this."
Attanasio is not yet aware of all the details of the case, saying Braun could not provide additional details due to the ongoing investigation.
But Attanasio reiterated that he was disappointed by Braun's actions and said he told Braun he wanted to be involved in helping him overcome the damage done by his suspension.
"I've told Ryan that I would like to take a more active role in talking to him going forward and he is very accepting of that," Attanasio said. "He wants to do the right thing at this point going forward. This was a first step, by coming forward and agreeing to a penalty and being the first player to do that. That is a first step, and it is a baby step, but it is a step in the right direction."
Asked how Braun could repair his image after 18 months of lying to fans, Attanasio said there was "no road map for him to follow."
"This is a unique circumstance here," he said. "I told Ryan that this is going to take time. No matter how open, honest, truthful, sincere he is in the next press conference, that is one step in what is going to be (many). It is going to take time. Everyone will know when, if he gets over that threshold, that he has gotten over it, because the community will be in a position that they can embrace him again."
Attanasio said he understands the anger from Milwaukee fans and knows Braun has a lot of work to do to repair his image.
"This community trusted Ryan," Attanasio said. "So I understand how this community is reacting as negatively as it is because it was so trusting and it's had its trust betrayed."
Attanasio hopes that after MLB completes its investigation Braun would speak about what led to his suspension.
"I think he has to get to the point where he can actually speak about this," he said. "Major League Baseball is in the midst of an ongoing investigation. He is obviously now cooperating with baseball. He is cooperating in such a way that he is going to let them conclude or get further into the investigation before he talks."