Results tagged ‘ Ryan Braun ’

Braun at DH for Game 2

Ryan Braun is getting a day off in the field, but he’s still in the lineup for Game 2 of the Brewers-Twins Interleague Series. It’s rainy here at Target Fielder but we’ve been assured that it will be beautiful at game time, so here we go:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Carlos Gomez  CF
Ryan Braun  DH
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Corey Hart RF
Joe Inglett  LF
Alcides Escobar SS
George Kottaras  C
RHP Yovani Gallardo
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Braun, Fielder flipped in lineup

Adam Stern is making his first start tonight as the Brewers try to snap their nine-game hitting streak, but that’s far from the most interesting development. It appears that manager Ken Macha has flipped Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder in the batting order, moving Fielder up to third and dropping Braun to the cleanup spot. We’ve got some ideas here in the press box, but let’s wait to get the explanation from Macha. 

Fielder, by the way, is 3-for-37 lifetime against Pirates starter Paul Maholm with 11 strikeouts. Braun is 17-for-38. Here’s the full lineup:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Alcides Escobar  SS
Prince Fielder  1B
Ryan Braun  LF
Casey McGehee  3B
Corey Hart  RF
Gregg Zaun  C
Adam Stern  CF
Chris Narveson  LHP
Here’s a trip down memory lane to the last time Fielder hit third and Braun fourth. It was April 2008, and when both players got off to a slow start they asked then-hitting coach Jim Skaalen to flip back to the way they batted the previous season. Manager Ned Yost agreed, and made the change for a Sunday series finale at Shea Stadium.
Braun said at the time that he was excited about the move and called it, “Mentally, a fresh start for both of us.”
“I don’t think it had anything to do with us being uncomfortable where we were at,” Braun said then. “I think it was more of us being more comfortable with me being three and him being four. We understood the logic behind [the other configuration], but it gets to the point where neither one of us is having too much success, and it feels like it is in our best interests and the best interests of the team to at least try it.
“We’re certainly not swinging the bats the way we were last year. So why not? We’re both definitely excited about the change.”
Added Fielder: “Whatever works. This game is all mental, anyway. It’s never physical.”
ONE MORE NOTE… Since that flip-flop, Fielder has started 350 of the Brewers’ 353 games and batted fourth in every one of them. Until tonight. 

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Braun back in lineup

We’re a bit delayed because of the Bob Uecker press conference, but Ryan Braun is back in the Brewers’ lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Phillies at Miller Park. He will be playing for the first time since Monday, when Braun was struck in the left elbow by a Tommy Hanson pitch. 

Here’s the lineup:
Rickie Weeks  2B
Corey Hart  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Jim Edmonds  CF
Alcides Escobar  SS
George Kottaras  C
Randy Wolf  LHP
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Welcome to Kennywood!

Here’s a little preview of a story set to hit MLB.com tomorrow:
Who could have guessed that Ken Macha, the self-proclaimed “boring” manager of the Milwaukee Brewers with zero ejections in his season-plus with the team, was such an adrenaline junkie? The Pittsburgh native is a big fan of Kennywood, a huge amusement park in his home state that features three wooden roller coasters. 
“The Jack Rabbit, the Thunderbolt and the Racer,” Macha said. “I love that place. Love it.” 
Good thing, because his ballclub is baseball’s version of a thrill ride. Up one week, down the next, and the only difference is that those downs have not been quite as fun as those dips and dives at Kennywood. 
As of Thursday the Brewers had scored 186 runs, most in the National League and less than only the Yankees (190 runs) and Rays (189) in all of Major League Baseball. The Brewers’ 798 OPS also led the NL and trailed only the powerhouse Yankees (.805) and Red Sox (.799). 
So Milwaukee is one of the most potent offensive clubs in the league, right? Yes, but only when they are not conjuring memories of the second-tier Brewers teams of seasons past, and there have been plenty of those games so far. Consider that the 2010 Brewers have already scored at least eight runs in a game 10 times, but have scored two or fewer runs 11 times and are 1-10 in those games. That’s only the start of the extremes; they have scored at least 17 runs in three big games, but have been shut out four times. 
They have swept two series in dominating fashion, both on the road — from April 20-22 in Pittsburgh by a cumulative score of 36-1 and from May 7-9 in Arizona by a cumulative score of 26-6. But they have been swept in each of the subsequent series, both times at home — outscored 25-4 by the Cubs from April 23-25 and 27-7 by the Braves just this week. 
“It’s extremely weird,” said Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun. “I don’t think there’s any logical explanation. I wish we could say, ‘Let’s score five today and then save five for tomorrow.’ It just doesn’t work that way.” 
For more, including GM Doug Melvin’s take on this up-and-down season, see my story on Friday. In the meantime, which Brewers team do you think will shot up this weekend? 
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Braun knew there was "no chance" he'd play

Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun says he knew Monday night, minutes after a Tommy Hanson fastball struck his left elbow, that he wouldn’t be taking any swings on Tuesday. 
“I can’t do anything,” he said. “I have no mobility.”
Braun indeed was out of the Brewers lineup as the series continued at Miller Park, leaving the Brewers to use three starting outfielders — Jody Gerut in left, Jim Edmonds in center and Corey Hart in right — who have three fewer RBIs between them (25) than Braun’s 28. 
Braun wouldn’t rule out playing Wednesday’s series finale, but with an off-day on Thursday manager Ken Macha might be tempted to give his star left fielder an extended rest. Braun did not need x-rays, and felt lucky that Hanson’s pitch struck above his elbow and not directly on it. For the record, he didn’t think Hanson’s wayward offering — one of the right-handers few misses in eight scoreless innings — carried any ill intent.
Braun’s elbow was badly swollen on Tuesday afternoon, when Braun received a battery of treatments. 
“I feel fortunate that it’s a few days instead of a month or two,” Braun said of his absence. 
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Braun out; Edmonds hitting third

Ryan Braun is out of the Brewers’ starting lineup tonight, a day after he was struck in the left elbow by a Tommy Hanson pitch in Monday’s loss to the Braves. That’s bad news for Brewers manager Ken Macha, who said last night that he expected Braun to be able to play. 

We’ll update Braun’s health as soon as the clubhouse opens this afternoon. For now, he’s the lineup for Game 2 of the series:

Rickie Weeks  2B

Jody Gerut  LF
Jim Edmonds  CF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Gregg Zaun  C
Corey Hart  RF
Alcides Escobar  SS
Dave Bush  RHP
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Gomez to 15-day DL

The Brewers placed center fielder Carlos Gomez on the 15-day disabled list Monday night and will purchase outfielder Adam Stern’s contract from Triple-A Nashville before Tuesday’s game against the Braves. Gomez’s DL assignment was backdated to May 6, when he strained his left rotator cuff diving back to second base in a game against the Dodgers.

Stern, who has 48 games of Major League experience with the Red Sox and Orioles, will be making his Brewers big league debut. He went 3-for-5 for Nashville on Monday in Albuquerque and is hitting .349 this season in the Minors. 
According to Brewers manager Ken Macha, the decision to place Gomez on the DL was made before Monday’s loss to the Braves, when Gomez was examined by head team physician William Raasch. It had nothing to do, Macha said, with left fielder Ryan Braun exiting the game three innings after he was hit on the left elbow by a Tommy Hanson pitch. 
“I’d be surprised if Brauny is not in there tomorrow,” Macha said of Braun. 
Braun played two more innings in the outfield and took one more at-bat before leaving the game with the Brewers in a 7-0 hole. Through a club spokesperson, he declined to comment afterward. 
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Something's gotta give

Something has to give when the Brewers host the Braves for a three-game series beginning Monday at Miller Park. 
The Brewers are 4-8 at home but 11-8 on the road. The Braves are 5-14 on the road including their Sunday loss at Philadelphia, but 8-4 at home. 
Maybe Ryan Braun has something to do with the Brewers’ home woes this year. For the second straight season, Braun has been better on the road. Entering Sunday’s finale in Arizona, he was hitting .444 (32-for-72) on the road with five home runs, 24 RBIs and a 1.307 OPS. At Miller Park, he is hitting .245 (12-for-49) with one homer, four RBIs and a .689 OPS in six fewer games.
As a team, the Brewers rank 20th of the 30 Major League teams with a .750 OPS in home games. Entering Sunday’s road trip finale, they led the Majors with an .845 OPS away from home. 
“That’s what makes baseball interesting, you have all these statistics,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said. 
Perhaps Braun’s relative struggles at home have something to do with the difficult day game conditions at Miller Park, where light streaming through the banks of windows flanking the foul lines causes glare that hinders hitters. The Brewers painted the center field batter’s eye this year to reduce the effect, but the shadows remain. 
The Brewers headed home Sunday night after a 6-1 win over the D-backs and riding a hot streak. After losing three of four games in San Diego to start the trip, and being shut out in all three of those losses, they averaged 8.5 runs the rest of the way and took two of three from the Dodgers before sweeping the D-backs. 
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Braun on Gallardo: 'He deserves it'

Count left fielder Ryan Braun among the Brewers fans happy to see the team lock-up Yovani Gallardo on Thursday.
“I think it’s great for the city to know that we’re going to have our ace to build around for the next five years,” Braun said. 
Gallardo’s new five year contract runs through 2014 and buys out one of his would-be free agent seasons. It also includes a club option for 2015.
That puts him right in line with Braun, who signed a seven-year extension in 2008 that runs through 2015. 
“I’m excited,” Braun said. “First and foremost, I’m excited for Yovani. He deserves it, and I know that the financial security is a great thing. That’s something I can relate to. I’m excited to be with him for at least the next five years.”
It’s no secret that Braun and the rest of the Brewers would like to see another player join the long-term party. But Braun downplayed the possible impact Gallardo’s signing could have on the team’s ongoing discussion with first baseman Prince Fielder, whose situation is completely different because he is less than two years shy of free agency. 
Gallardo, for contrast, was four years shy before he signed his new contract. Braun was six years short when he inked his deal. 
“I don’t think it really relates to Prince too much,” Braun said. “But if Prince does stay on, he wants to know we’re going to have a good team, and knowing that Yovani and I are going to be here for the next five years, it should give him some peace of mind that we should at least be competitive.”
Braun knew that the team was in talks with Gallardo but didn’t learn a deal was done until it was announced on Thursday afternoon. 
His own negotiation was similarly quiet. Braun’s agent, Nez Balelo, handled talks with the Brewers with little fanfare before a deal was announced one morning in May 2008.
“It makes a lot of sense for [Gallardo] and it will make a lot of sense for the team is he continues to be this good,” Braun said. “It provides some cost certainty for them and they’ll probably save some money in the long run. 
“I do think it’s a trend. Teams have to come early, obviously, because the closer you get to free agency or arbitration, the harder it is to give up those years at what looks like a discounted price. But for players, that financial security is tough to give up. I think it makes a lot of sense for the player, and for the team you get some cost certainty but you’re also taking a risk. You have to believe in the guy and his work ethic.”
That’s why club executives speak often of only doing extensions with the “right” player. Braun is pretty sure that Gallardo falls into that group.
“They don’t get any better than him,” Braun said. “His poise, his composure, his personality. You can’t ask for more in a pitcher.”
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Brewers planning announcement

The Brewers are planning a 3 p.m. CT press conference at Miller Park and appear poised to announce a long-term contract extension for right-hander Yovani Gallardo, the club’s home-grown, 24-year-old Opening Day starter. 
Terms of the deal will not be made official until later Thursday, but other teams who have extended their young pitchers in recent months have covered the player’s arbitration seasons and given the club control over at least one season of the player’s free agent eligibility. 
Gallardo’s original 2010 contract calls for a $450,000 salary in his final pre-arbitration season. He would be salary arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season, putting him on track to reach free agency during the 2013-14 offseason. 
Now Brewers general manager Doug Melvin may have succeeded in delaying his young ace’s entry into the market. Melvin struck a similar deal nearly two years ago with left fielder Ryan Braun, whose extension runs through 2015 and covers two years of free agency. Braun was also 24 when he signed.  
If Braun is a blueprint for the type of control Melvin is seeking over Gallardo, it would have to be a five-year contract that replaces Gallardo’s existing deal for 2010.  
Teams take on risk in deals for such young players but in return get cost certainty and perhaps the chance to delay free agent departures. Players may leave some money on the table versus going year-to-year through arbitration, but they get a lifetime of financial security in return. 
The Mexican-born, Texas-raised Gallardo, Milwaukee’s second round Draft pick in 2004, lost his Opening Day start against the Rockies but is showing signs of growing into a four-pitch Major League ace. 
He returned in 2009 from an ’08 season lost almost entirely to knee injuries and went 13-12 with a 3.73 ERA. He became fourth different Brewers pitcher to top 200 strikeouts in a season — his Mexican countryman, Teddy Higuera is the only Brewer to do so twice — and ranked third among National League starters with a .219 batting average against. 
“He could be in the top handful in the game,” said new Brewers catcher Gregg Zaun. “He’s got all the ability, so now it’s going to be about polishing. He can polish some command, some different pitch sequences, adding and subtracting velocity here and there. He definitely has tremendous life on his stuff.” 
If Thursday’s announcement is indeed about a Gallardo extension, the Brewers would have their top two starters signed through 2012 and under control through 2013. Left-hander Randy Wolf signed a three-year contract during the Winter Meetings in December that includes a club option for 2013. 
Melvin has kept his talks with Gallardo’s agent, former Major Leaguer Bobby Witt, out of the spotlight since the sides agreed to a one-year contract early last month. At the same time, Melvin has been in ongoing discussions with first baseman Prince Fielder about an extension of his own, though Thursday’s press conference is not expected to include any new information about Fielder. 
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