MILWAUKEE -- Making his first public comments since accepting a 65-game suspension from Major League Baseball, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun refused to get into specifics on his use of performance-enhancing drugs but expressed remorse for his actions.
In town for the Brewers Community Foundation's annual food drive, Braun took questions from reporters for 14 minutes Wednesday in freezing cold conditions outside of Helfaer Field overlooking Miller Park.
"Obviously the whole thing is a huge regret," Braun said. "It was a huge mistake. I wish that I hadn't done it. I wish I could go back and do a lot of things different. I don't think I could specifically pinpoint one thing that I regret more than anything else, I regret all of it. I wish I could go back and change it but I can't do that."
Braun wouldn't speak in detail on the circumstances or reasons behind his use of performance-enhancing drugs, refusing to truly answer many of the questions asked to him.
Among things he wouldn't discuss was how his suspension would impact future All-Star appearances, future chances at being voted into the Hall of Fame and if his use of performance-enhancing drugs invalidates his 2011 National League MVP award.
The one thing Braun did let out was that he and fiancee Larisa Fraser were invited and had dinner Tuesday night with Dino Laurenzi Jr., the collector who handled the urine sample that led to the positive test.
"We had some really good conversation," Braun said. "We’ve made amends and I think we’re both excited to be able to move forward and put this behind us.
"They're really special people and I appreciate them giving me the opportunity to go to their house and have a conversation in person."
Braun was then asked if he regretted slamming Laurenzi the way he did in his press conference at Maryvale Baseball Park back in February of 2012 after the arbiter had ruled in his favor. According to Braun, his "opinion on a lot of those things has definitely changed."
"I wish that I hadn’t done the press conference," Braun said. "It was a big mistake. I deeply regret having done it, and a lot of the things that I said that day. But again, all I can do is move forward, and in an effort to do that I’m not going to get into too many specifics.
"I really don’t think that it does anything too positive or productive for me, the team, the game of baseball or anybody else. And in an effort to move forward, I’m not going to discuss that subject."
Braun accepted MLB's season-ending suspension on July 22 for violations of the league's basic agreement and its joint drug prevention and treatment program. The former National League MVP initially tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in October of 2011 but won his appeal due to an issue with the sample's chain of custody.
Starting with the press conference in Arizona, Braun strongly denied using any sort of performance-enhancing drug, staying he "would bet his life that this substance never entered his body."
"I’m deeply remorseful about what happened," Braun said. "I wish I had the ability to go back and change things and do things a lot differently, but unfortunately I can’t do that. All I can do is move on and try to do everything in my power to earn back peoples' trust and respect and support. I don’t anticipate being able to earn back everybody’s support, but I certainly intend to do everything in my power to do that and I won’t stop trying."
Braun hopes to use what has been a long and drawn out process as a way to help others avoid making the same mistakes. His long road back continued Wednesday as he met fans as they came to Miller Park to donate to the food drive.
"I hope that people recognize what I've been through and not want to go through this experience," Braun said. "It's been a lot. It's been really difficult, really challenging. I would never wish this situation on anybody. I hope people can view my situation as a learning experience and something they should try to avoid."
As far as the reaction he'll receive on Opening Day, Braun doesn't know what to expect, but he said he's been given support from many people.
"But I understand people being disappointed, people being upset and people reacting emotionally," Braun said. "I don't fault anybody for being upset. I don't know specifically what many people said, but I don't fault anybody for being upset or disappointed."
Trade rumors surrounding Braun have been quickly dispelled by Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, something conveyed to him during a recent dinner with Melvin, owner Mark Attanasio and manager Ron Roenicke.
Asked if a fresh start in another city would do him good, Braun made clear his desire to stay in Milwaukee. Braun doesn't anticipate any issues with his teammates, saying everyone has been incredibly supportive.
"Absolutely I want to stay here," Braun said. "I made the long-term commitment because the city has been amazing to me, the fans have been amazing to me, the organization has been incredibly supportive of me, and I fully intend to stay here."
Braun knows there always will be many suspicions floated around if he produces big numbers again and it's something he'll have to deal with for the rest of his playing days.
"I fully intend to be at least as good as I've been to this point in my career," Braun said. "Hopefully, I can get better. But I only focus on the things I can control. I can't control what people say or think. This is my fault. I've taken full responsibility for my actions. I put myself in this position and people will have the opportunity to say whatever they want. I'll just focus on things I can control.
There was one baseball question asked of Braun on Wednesday, as he confirmed the Brewers have brought up the possibility of moving from left field to right field to him.
Milwaukee is trying to make room in the lineup for the bat of Khris Davis, and he is limited to left field defensively.
"I'm not opposed to it," Braun said, "I don't know exactly what's going to happen but it's definitely a possibility. 100 percent, I'll play wherever they want except third base. That didn't go well. But I'll do whatever we want. It's not something set in stone but it's something we've discussed."