By Simon Evans
(Reuters) - Banned Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun acknowledged on Thursday he used performance enhancing drugs during his National League Most Valuable Player season in 2011.
"During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn't have used," Braun said in a statement published on the Brewers' website.
"The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation. It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately," he added.
Major League Baseball (MLB) in July suspended Braun for the rest of the season, at least 65 games, saying that he had violated the league's joint drug prevention program.
No details were given of the offence committed by Braun but he had been suspected of procuring performance enhancing drugs from Biogenesis, the now-shut Florida anti-aging clinic that was investigated by MLB.
Previously Braun was suspended for 50 games by MLB after he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels during the 2011 season but that ban was overturned in February 2012, after he successfully appealed claiming his tests were mishandled.
After winning that appeal, Braun made critical comments about the collection of his urine sample and the collector, saying that he viewed the process as "suspicious".
On Thursday, Braun revisited his comments and said he was embarrassed by them.
"I deeply regret many of the things I said at the press conference after the arbitrator's decision in February 2012. At that time, I still didn't want to believe that I had used a banned substance.
"I think a combination of feeling self righteous and having a lot of unjustified anger led me to react the way I did. I felt wronged and attacked, but looking back now, I was the one who was wrong. I am beyond embarrassed that I said what I thought I needed to say to defend my clouded vision of reality."
Braun said he was now in the process of trying to understand why he responded the way he did, acknowledging there was no excuse for it.
"For too long during this process, I convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong. 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.
"I was never presented with baseball's evidence against me, but I didn't need to be, because I knew what I had done. I realized the magnitude of my poor decisions and finally focused on dealing with the realities of - and the punishment for - my actions," he said.
(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami, Editing by Larry Fine)