Brewers report to camp, Braun not yet thereWhile several position players checked in, including first baseman Corey Hart on crutches, the Brewers' first full-squad workout is not until Saturday. Braun is expected to report Friday.
By: By Alan Eskew, Associated Press, Superior Telegram
PHOENIX — Ryan Braun was not in the clubhouse Wednesday when the Milwaukee Brewers officially opened spring training with pitchers and catchers reporting. But he was on the mind of some of those present.
While several position players checked in, including first baseman Corey Hart on crutches, the Brewers' first full-squad workout is not until Saturday. Braun is expected to report Friday.
When Braun, the 2011 National League MVP does arrive, for the second straight spring training he will be asked about his name linked to performance enhancing drugs.
Braun, who hit .319 with 41 home runs and 119 RBIs last season, won his appeal last February for a positive test for elevated testosterone and his 50-game suspension was overturned. His named has been connected to a Florida clinic being investigated by Major League Baseball, but he released a statement saying he merely sought advice during his appeal.
"I've talked to Ryan," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I know he's going have to deal with some press issues (when he arrives). We're just going to move on with it as if nothing is there."
He added: "It was different last year. We knew what the specifics were last year. I knew what to address, what I wasn't supposed to talk about. I knew where he was on those issues. I don't know anything (this year)."
Roenicke said he would let the investigation play out "and see where we are. It may be nothing."
Roenicke said he has an issue on Braun's name being made public after it was not in the original Miami News Time article.
"I've had this pet peeve: don't bring up anybody's name and put it in there if you're questioning it," Roenicke said. "If there's something going and it's definite, fine. That's your job to put it out there. But don't bring up names you're not sure of and then retract it later because it never is retracted from the fans or the people who are out there. Never."
Hart, who hit .270 with 30 home runs and 83 RBIs last year, had right knee surgery Jan. 25 and will likely miss the first part of the season. He is scheduled to have a MRI on March 8.
"If that MRI shows the spot they fixed is healed that's when I can start really getting after it," Hart said.
He is optimistic his name will in the Brewers' lineup early in the regular season.
"April is not out of the question," Hart said.
Said Roenicke, "He says he's ahead of pace. He may be. I'll wait and see what the doctors say. He's got a MRI to see how it's healing up. If it comes out well, he can amp up his rehab."
Mat Gamel will likely play the majority of the time at first base in Hart's absence. Gamel started last season at first, but hurt his right knee on May 2 and required season-ending surgery. Gamel hit .246 with four extra-base hits and six RBIs in 21 games last year, while striking out 15 times in 69 at-bats
"I hope he goes out there and does awesome," Hart said. "I hope he goes out there and rakes and makes me go somewhere else (different position). I don't know if I can go anywhere else. I think we're kind of set."