Neighbor defends MLB sample collector

PLEASANT PRAIRIE -- The man who collected Brewers' Ryan Braun's sample in October is now facing a lot of scrutiny. In Friday's news conference, Braun implied that the collector may have had something to do with the test turning out positive, but Major League Baseball and anti-doping agencies disagree with that implication. So does the collector, Dino Laurenzi's next-door neighbor.

On Friday, during his news conference, Braun implied that a urine sample he submitted in October could have been tampered with by the person who collected it at Miller Park. The collector, Dino Laurenzi, has collected samples for Major League Baseball since 2005.

"I'm sure they did everything the way protocol called for," Douglas Michelson said in regards to his neighbor, Dino Laurenzi.

After testing positive for a banned substance, Braun was given a 50-game suspension that was overturned on Thursday after arbitrators ruled 2-1 that the chain of custody regarding his sample was not followed properly.

Major League Baseball and anti doping agencies dispute the ruling, issuing statements that claim protocol was followed properly and that the sample wasn't tampered with.

During his news conference on Friday, Braun implied that something did happen to the sample while it was in Laurenzi's custody for 44 hours after it was given to him at Miller Park.

While Laurenzi wasn't available for comment, (his dad told the Washington Post that he was in Arizona), Laurenzi's neighbor, Michelson, is defending Laurenzi's reputation. "I'm sure that he took the utmost care and nothing nefarious happened whatsoever," Michelson said.

Laurenzi is an athletic trainer in Kenosha and is also part of the Tremper High School football team's training staff. "He's very dedicated to his job, his family," Michelson added. "He's just a good all around neighbor, helps anybody, always smiling, always willing to talk and always willing to help out."

Braun never directly accused Laurenzi of wrongdoing, but did imply something could have happened with his sample.