Braun all smiles before opener

Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun had a big smile on his face before Friday’s season opener, eager to put a tumultuous winter behind him and to see if his team is as good as he believes it is.

Asked whether he had extra incentive on this opening day, Braun said with a smile, “Of course. Come on, of course.”

“It’s not so much about proving anybody wrong as it is about proving the people who all believed in me and supported me, right,” Braun said. “I’m definitely excited. Very motivated.”

Braun will be presented his NL MVP Award on the field at Miller Park on April 22.

Manager Ron Roenicke has been talking with Braun throughout the spring about potential challenges ahead. The Brewers opened their season in friendly territory but will travel next week to Chicago and Atlanta, where the reception may not be as nice.

“Right now, he’s in a really good place,” Roenicke said. “The first couple weeks of spring were a little difficult, but he’s back to the guy he was that I saw last year. He’s very confident. He knows he had a tough offseason, mentally, and I think he’s in that place right now where his focus is on having another repeat year, even better. That’s hard to believe, but it’s how he talks.”

Braun thinks the team is better this season. For his comments on that front, check this evening.


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