Results tagged ‘ Ryan Braun ’

Gomez out with stiff back

Center fielder Carlos Gomez is the latest Brewers regular to show up on the injury report. He was supposed to start Monday’s game against the Giants, but complained of a stiff back so Brandon Boggs is playing instead. 

It’s a minor setback, but those have been piling up for the Brewers. Of the nine projected Opening Day starters, seven have lost at least a handful of Cactus League innings to a medical issue. Pitcher Zack Greinke (cracked rib), catcher Jonathan Lucroy (fractured finger) and right fielder Corey Hart (rib-cage strain) have not played at all because of more serious injuries, and second baseman Rickie Weeks (groin), shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt (right quadriceps), left fielder Ryan Braun (rib-cage strain) and now Gomez have come out of a game early or missed a start as a precaution. Plus, closer John Axford got a late start because of food poisoning.
First baseman Prince Fielder and third baseman Casey McGehee have been able to stay on their schedules. 
Perspective is in order, because none of the setbacks in Brewers camp have threatened a player’s season. Betancourt left Sunday’s game early, but he could be back in action as early as Tuesday. Braun returned to the lineup Monday after exiting Saturday with his rib strain. Weeks’ groin issue seems to have passed. Hart is making significant progress in recent days and was to begin swinging a bat on Monday. Lucroy will have the pin in his finger removed next week and is on track for Opening Day. 
Maybe the Brewers are just getting their injuries out of the way early. Better now than during the regular season. 
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Braun feeling better than ever

The morning after he exited a Spring Training game with a rib-cage strain and sent word through a club spokesperson that he was “fine,” Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said it himself. 
Actually, he’s not just fine. He’s feeling better than ever. 
“It’s nothing at all,” Braun said. “I could have played [Saturday] but there’s no sense in it. Honestly, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life, so I don’t really need at-bats right now. There’s no doubt in my mind I’m better than I’ve ever been at baseball, so nothing positive comes from the rest of these Spring Training games. I don’t need at-bats. I feel great. So there’s no reason to take a chance right now.”
Braun tweaked his ribcage when he ran into the outfield wall during fungo drills on Saturday. He impacted the padded wall with his right side and felt some discomfort on his left, and departed the team’s afternoon game against the D-backs as a precaution. 
The club called it an intercostals strain, referring to the small muscles between the ribs. Braun was previously scheduled to have Sunday’s game off, and said he expected to return to the lineup on Monday against the Giants. Tuesday at the latest, he said.
Braun understands why his early departure on Saturday sparked some panic. The Brewers have already  been bitten by injuries to starter Zack Greinke (ribs), right fielder Corey Hart (ribs), catcher Jonathan Lucroy (finger) and reliever Manny Parra (back), and Greinke will be on the disabled list for Opening Day.
“I get it,” he said. “But I promise you, I’m fine.”
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Champ visits Brewers camp

Braun-Ali.jpg
Scott Paulus/Brewers
Brewers players and coaches got a treat Wednesday morning when boxing legend Muhammad Ali visited Maryvale Baseball Park. 
The visit was coordinated by the Brewers Community Foundation and Athletes for Hope, a nonprofit founded in 2007 by an elite group of philanthropic athletes who inspire other pros to find a charitable cause and support it.  Ali’s wife, Lonnie, addressed the team before players and coaches posed for photos with the champ. 
“His wife said this, that with the personality that he had, he’s recognized around the world maybe more than any other person,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “[Players] are all getting their photos. Hey, this guy was incredible.” 
Here are some more images from team photographer Scott Paulus. Look for some video of the visit later on Brewers.com.
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Thanks to Scott Paulus for the shots. That’s Ali’s wife, Lonnie, in the orange blouse, watching Ron Roenicke present Ali with a Brewers jersey. And, of course, Hall of Famer Robin Yount shaking Ali’s hand in the final photo.
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Braun fired up about Greinke trade

The Brewers’ remodeled starting rotation may not have the star power of the Philadelphia Phillies or the World Series rings of the San Francisco Giants. But it’s good enough to have outfielder Ryan Braun & Co. thinking like a legitimate contender. 
“We were looking to get better this offseason, and I don’t think we could have possibly accomplished more than we did,” Braun said Sunday afternoon. “I don’t think anyone thought this was possible without trading somebody like Prince [Fielder].” 
Fielder is still a Brewer for 2011, and so are the Brewers’ four other 20-home run hitters from last season: Braun, outfielder Corey Hart, third baseman Casey McGehee and second baseman Rickie Weeks. General manager Doug Melvin found other ways to make two major additions to the starting rotation. 
The team on Sunday added 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke in a stunning trade with the Royals that came two weeks after the Brewers acquired Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays. Greinke and Marcum will join Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and probably Chris Narveson in a new-look rotation. 
Gallardo, Greinke and Marcum are all right-handers who started on 2010 Opening Day. Wolf and Narveson are left-handers who finished last season strong for the Brewers. 
For backup, the Brewers have left-hander Manny Parra, who has been slow to reach his potential and will probably begin the year in relief. The team has also been working this winter to re-sign another lefty, Chris Capuano, who looked good last season after returning from his second career Tommy John surgery. With Greinke in the fold, the Brewers can continue their cautious approach with starting pitching prospects like Mark Rogers, Amaury Rivas and Wily Peralta. 
The  big-league group isn’t as star-studded as the Phillies’ top four of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels, and the Brewers’ foursome doesn’t have World Series rings like the Giants’ Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner. But it has Braun more than a bit excited for the start of 2011. 
“Excited would be a severe understatement,” Braun said. “It just shows the players, the fans, once again the commitment to winning from our ownership and management. It’s really exciting. We just got one of the best players in baseball [in Greinke] and I can’t wait to get started.” 
The Brewers have struggled since the free agent departures of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets after the 2008 season. In 2009, Brewers starters combined for a 5.37 ERA, dead last in the 16-team NL. In 2010, after spending big for free agent Wolf, they improved only marginally to a 4.65 ERA, 15th of 16 NL teams. 
“There’s no doubt that we’re far better heading into the season than we have been in any of my five years with the team,” Braun said. “You’ve seen recently the value of starting pitchers and how difficult it is to acquire them, and when that rare opportunity comes to acquire something this good, which almost never happens, you have to do what you can. That ownership and management made this move is a huge statement to us players and the fans. 
“There’s so much that has to happen between now and then, and looking at it on paper and going out and performing are two different things. But it certainly looks good.” 
Braun had seen rumors of the Brewers checking-in on Greinke this winter, but he didn’t expect a deal to get done. 
“We were able to acquire two great starting pitchers [in Greinke and Marcum] without trading Prince,” Braun said. “That’s remarkable. It’s pretty amazing.” <
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Braun, Hart appear on MVP ballots

Brewers outfielders Ryan Braun and Corey Hart each received at least one vote, but Reds first baseman Joey Votto was the runaway winner of the National League MVP Award on Monday. 

Votto received 31 out of a possible 32 first-place votes and 443 points to earn his first league MVP honor. He easily beat runner-up Albert Pujols of the Cardinals, who garnered the other first-place vote and 279 total points. Votto prevented Pujols from winning his third MVP Award in a row and fourth overall. 
The award was decided by 32 members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, two in each NL city, each of whom ranked their top 10 players. The tabulation system awarded 14 points for first place, nine for second, eight for third and on down to one for 10th. 
The Brewers were represented in the balloting by Braun and Hart, two of the NL’s three starting outfielders in the All-Star Game in July. Braun placed 15th with 19 total points and ranked as high as sixth on one ballot. Hart received one ninth-place vote for two points.  
Braun batted .304 in 2010 with 25 home runs and 103 RBIs and has garnered at least one vote in MVP balloting in each of his four Major League seasons. He finished third in the voting in 2008, when Braun set a career high with 37 home runs, and ran 11th in 2009, when he led the league with 203 hits and set a career high with 114 RBIs. 
Hart hit .283 last season and set career highs with 31 homers and 102 RBIs. 
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Braun, Gallardo named Silver Sluggers

Ryan Braun told us that it would go this way. He said so in early August, when he was coming off a July that saw him hit an even .200 and left his batting average entering the Brewers’ July 31 game at .273, 35 points off his career average entering 2010. He owned a .325 on-base percentage that day, 38 points off his career mark, and a .459 slugging percentage, 92 points off. 
“If I finish strong,” he said a few days later, “there’s no reason I can’t have just as good a season I had last year. There’s no reason I can’t have my best season if I finish great this year.” 
In the end, he didn’t have his best season, but he did have another good one. Braun batted .364 over his final 55 games with nine home runs and 35 RBIs and finished the year batting .304 with 25 home runs and 104 batted in. He boosted his on-base percentage up to .365, and his slugging percentage to .501. 
The reward came Wednesday, when Braun was honored with this third consecutive Silver Slugger Award as one of the National League top hitting outfielders. Braun is only the second player in franchise history to win the award three years in a row — sweet-swinging first baseman Cecil Cooper won it from 1980-82. Robin Yount also took home the award three times, but not in consecutive seasons. 
For the first time in nearly three decades, Braun was not the Brewers’ only winner. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo won his first career Silver Slugger Award as the NL’s top hitting pitcher. He batted .254 and led pitchers with four home runs and 10 RBIs. No other pitcher belted more than one homer in 2010. 
“It always feels good, especially as a pitcher, in situations where you can help yourself out,” Gallardo told reporters in San Diego on May 1, after he limited the Padres to one run in eight innings and belted a difference-making homer in a 2-1 Brewers win.
This season marks the first time that the Brewers had multiple Silver Sluggers since 1982, when Cooper and Yount were honored. 
Besides Braun, the other Silver Slugger-winning NL outfielders were Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies and Matt Holliday of the Cardinals. Other 2010 Silver Sluggers were Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Braves catcher Brian McCann.
“Whenever you’re recognized for doing something at the end of the year, it’s rewarding,” Braun said this week. “It’s nice to know that the hard work you put in has been noticed, and it’s paid off.” 
He called the Silver Slugger Award, “a tremendous honor.” 
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Brewers shut out of Fielding Bible

The Fielding Bible Awards were unveiled on Monday, in which panel of experts, including MLB.com’s Peter Gammons, stat guru Bill James and defensive metric innovator John Dewan, selected the top defensive player at each position by ranking players 1-10. The Brewers had precisely zero players make the top 10 at his position.

A couple came close. Ryan Braun just missed the cut among left fielders and ditto for Alcides Escobar among shortstops. Carlos Gomez got a couple of votes among center fielders. 
But that’s it. 
If you’re interested, you can read more about the Fielding Bible here, and the vote tallies are available here
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Brewers hit home stretch

You can add outfielder Corey Hart to the list of those wondering what could have been for the Brewers this season had they been able to hit and pitch at the same time. 
“It might have been different,” said Hart. 
Instead, the pitching scuffled early and the hitting sort of scuffled late, leaving the Brewers to finish another lost season this weekend in Cincinnati. Mark Rogers, Chris Capuano and Randy Wolf are your starters for the final series of the year. 
The Brewers are going out on individual high notes. In Thursday’s win over the Mets, Chris Narveson lowered his ERA under 5.00 for the first time since April, Casey McGehee and Corey Hart each reached 100 RBIs, Ryan Braun scored his 100th run and Prince Fielder matched his own club record with his 110th walk. 
Those offensive milestones all came during an 11-batter rally that put a 9-2 win out of reach. 
“[Manager Ken] Macha was really good about it because he knew what we were going after,” Hart said. “Obviously, you have team goals, but he saw we were right there and he was determined to keep us in there until we got it done.” 
McGehee played seven games without driving in a run before finally notching RBI No. 100 on a ninth-inning error charged to Mets catcher Mike Nickeas, one of three New York errors in the game and two on that same play. Fielder followed with a walk, matching his club record set last season, and Hart followed with a sharp single to right field to score Braun, giving the Brewers two milestones with one swing. Hart reached 100 RBIs for the first time in his career, and Braun scored 100 for the second straight season. Braun joined Cecil Cooper (1982-83) as the only players in franchise history to post consecutive seasons with 100 runs and 100 RBIs. 
The Brewers and Yankees are the only teams with three 100-RBI players this season. It’s the fourth time in franchise history that the Brewers have had at least three, and the first time since 1982. 
If you think this stuff doesn’t mean anything to the boys in navy blue, think again. After McGehee’s RBI, Braun pumped both of his fists in the air in McGehee’s direction. When Hart slapped his hit to right field, he pumped his right fist on the way to first base. 
“We all pretend like we don’t pay attention, but it’s impossible not to,” Braun said. “Especially because that 100th RBI is kind of the number that solidifies that you’ve had a great year as a run-producer.” 
McGehee had been working on his for a while. He drove in four runs on Sept. 22 but was blanked in the week that followed. 
In the end, he logged No. 100 on a 40-foot grounder that was misplayed by the catcher. McGehee wasn’t sure at first that he would get an RBI, but learned later that the official scorer had ruled in his favor. 
“Definitely a relief,” McGehee said. “As much as I tried not to worry about it, it was hard not to be aware of it. Really, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t know how big a deal it is. It’s just a nice, round number, really. At the same time, you’re so close to it, you might as well push to get that one more.” 
Don’t forget Narveson in this discussion, because he did just enough to lower his ERA just below 5.00, where it had stood since he was working out of the Brewers’ bullpen in April. 
He exited with two outs in the seventh inning and a runner at first base, and reliever Carlos Villanueva preserved Narveson’s ERA by striking out Jose Reyes with a runner at first base. Reyes had a dreadful night, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts and a pair of groundouts to the mound. Reyes also dropped an easy pop-up that extended the Brewers’ half of the fifth inning for Lorenzo Cain’s two-run double. 
“When I came out, [Dave Bush] told me, ‘You’re at 4.99,'” Narveson said. “It was pretty sweet. It was kind of a goal of mine to get there in the final month and I was able to get there.” 
Narveson’s last start was also my last game of the season covering the team from the press box. I’ll be back next week with the beginning of what should be a very interesting offseason, but wanted first to say thank you to everybody who read the blog, followed me on Twitter and dropped me e-mails throughout the season. It’s been a fun back-and-forth, and I look forward to continuing the conversation over the hot stove. 
Enjoy the final three games…
 
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Braun, McGehee bump up in order

Interesting Brewers lineup for the finale of a series of Citi Field, where it’s windy but still dry at the moment. The onset of these awful storms keeps getting pushed back, so perhaps we’ll get a window. 

Casey McGehee, stuck on 99 RBIs for his past seven games, is up to third in the order, ahead of Prince Fielder. I remember twice in this span that McGehee doubled with Fielder at first base and the big fella couldn’t score. But how Fielder is hitting in front of Corey Hart, who also has 99 RBIs. 
We’ll see what Ken Macha has to say about it. In the meantime, here’s the lineup:

Rickie Weeks  2B

Ryan Braun  LF
Casey McGehee  3B
Prince Fielder  1B
Corey Hart  RF
Lorenzo Cain  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
Jonathan Lucroy  C
Chris Narveson  LHP
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Good day for the Brewers

The Brewers had not enjoyed this good a day in more than seven years, since they last faced the Mets in a doubleheader. 
Dave Bush outdueled former Brewers farmhand R.A. Dickey on the mound and at the plate, too, driving home the only run in the first seven innings of a 3-1 Brewers win on Wednesday night that finished Milwaukee’s twinbill sweep of New York. 
In the early game, Yovani Gallardo squandered a six-run lead but the Brewers rallied late for an 8-7 win. Milwaukee had not won both ends of a doubleheader since June 5, 2003 at Shea Stadium, and there were similarities — they beat the Mets, 8-7, in the first game that day and scored a two-run win in the second. 
“That’s a long day, especially the way the first one started,” said Ryan Braun, whose two-run double in the second game provided some key insurance runs. “For us to come back is a sign of our resiliency, especially this time of year when we’re obviously not playing for a lot.” 
Bush’s final scheduled start of the season was a good one. He pitched six-plus scoreless innings before exiting what may have been his final outing in a Brewers uniform. He’s a free agent after the season. <p/>
He came to the Brewers in the December 2005 trade that opened first base for Prince Fielder and on Wednesday he made his 144th Milwaukee start.
“It was definitely a nice way to end,” Bush said. “It’s been a difficult year, a disappointing year, a long year. There’s a lot of adjectives I could say that are unflattering, as far as the whole year goes. It’s nice to go out on a good note. I’m aware that it may be the last time I pitch in this uniform.” <p/>
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