Teammates react to Braun suspension

Ryan Braun will not count against Milwaukee’s 40-man roster during his suspension and will be replaced on the 25-man roster Tuesday by Khris Davis, who is being called-up from Triple-A Nashville. When center fielder Carlos Gomez returns to action (he was sidelined Monday by nagging elbow, hand and shoulder soreness), Logan Schafer figures to be the Brewers’ regular left fielder.

When Schafer is needed in center field or right, then right-handed hitting Davis or left-handed hitting Caleb Gindl could man left field.

“As far as myself, the coaching staff, players, we’re certainly disappointed in the news that we received today,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “The suspension obviously affects us the rest of the year for what we do and where we’re trying to go. As far as the investigation and the suspension, I know everybody thinks that we know what was going on — I really I knew nothing. I found out today, when I got to the ballpark, that he was going to be suspended today.”

Braun pulled several longtime teammates aside for private discussions before addressing the full team for 5-10 minutes at about 3 p.m. CT. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy, one of Braun’s most outspoken allies over the past year and a half, said Braun’s comments were similar to the statement he released via Major League Baseball, in which Braun acknowledged “mistakes” but never explicitly admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.

Second baseman Rickie Weeks characterized the mood during the meeting as “somber” and said Braun appeared embarrassed. Lucroy said Braun was “depressed,” and, like reliever John Axford was eager to get more facts about what specific infractions Braun was being suspended for.

“Coming into the ballpark and hearing this today, I was shocked,” Weeks said. “I’m at a loss for words right now, to tell you the truth.”

Lucroy was asked whether he and other teammates felt deceived, given Braun’s long insistence about his innocence.

“Yeah, sure, I felt that way,” Lucroy said. “He came up to me before the meeting and told me about it and he said, ‘I’m sorry. I screwed up.” I said, ‘OK,” and I forgave him. That’s tough; when people make a mistake it’s tough to forgive them, but I think it’s a bigger person who will forgive them than who will sit there and wear him out, hold a grudge against him.”

Right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who dealt with his own off-the-field controversy in April when he was arrested and cited for drunk driving, said he still believed Braun has never taken PEDs.

“That’s only my opinion,” Gallardo said. “Other guys may have different opinions. … I know the kind of guy he is. We were roommates in the Minor Leagues. It’s tough for all of us, but we know what kind of guy he is.”

Lucroy said he believed the same when he reported for work on Monday.

And when Lucroy left for the night?

“You know what? I still forgive him, man,” Lucroy said. “He made a mistake. Lots of people make mistakes. I’m not sitting here acting like I’m perfect; I’m not. Nobody in here — none of y’all are perfect. He made a mistake, I forgive him, now let’s move on.”

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Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

 

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