Gameday: March 25 vs. Dodgers

With Ryan Braun back in the fold and Trot Nixon out, the Brewers begin a two-game homestand today against the Dodgers and Manny Ramirez, who is slated to start as L.A.’s left fielder. Minus the pitcher’s spot, it’s a preview of the Brewers’ Opening Day lineup:

Rickie Weeks  2B
J.J. Hardy  SS
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Corey Hart  RF
Mike Cameron  CF
Bill Hall  3B
Jason Kendall  C
Manny Parra LHP

Parra had some back spasms earlier in the week, but he threw a bullpen session on Monday with no troubles. It’s worth keeping an eye on him today to see if he can reach his six-inning, 90-pitch quota.

Manager Ken Macha told us this morning that closer Trevor Hoffman is making progress in his return from a strained oblique muscle, “but it’s still slow.” There is no timetable for Hoffman to resume throwing, and it’s more likely by the day that Hoffman will begin the year on the disabled list. The Brewers can backdate that assignment 10 days from the start of the Major League season, which means Hoffman would miss Milwaukee’s first three games, at minimum.

Veteran infielder Craig Counsell developed some swelling in one of his knees after Monday’s game in Tucson and will not play today. Macha expected Counsell to return to action on Thursday.

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