Ryan Braun quickly got into the swing of spring. The Milwaukee slugger homered in his first at-bat of the exhibition season and the Brewers...
PHOENIX — Ryan Braun quickly got into the swing of spring.
The Milwaukee slugger homered in his first at-bat of the exhibition season and the Brewers beat the Oakland Athletics 2-1 Saturday.
“There was nothing I didn’t like about it,” Braun said. “It was a home run. Homers are cool. I love home runs. I think I’m definitely ahead of where I usually am this time of year.”
Braun hit only two home runs during spring training last year. He played just in home games for the first week to ease his exposure after he became the only major-leaguer to have a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs reversed.
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Braun’s name surfaced again in late January in connection with a Miami anti-aging clinic that reportedly provided PEDs to professional athletes. Braun has denied using PEDs.
“He’s really good upstairs,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “He’s able to handle a lot of different situations really well.”
The 2011 NL MVP hit .319 with a league-leading 41 home runs, 112 runs batted in and 30 stolen bases last year.
Braun will soon be leaving the club to prepare for the World Baseball Classic with Team USA. He hit a solo shot over the center-field fence with two outs in the first inning off Jesse Chavez.
Braun has accelerated his spring regimen to prepare for the WBC, where he’s set to start in left field. With only four outfielders on the roster, he’s already been told to expect to play all nine innings in each of the first three games.
• A bloody sock worn by Curt Schilling while pitching for the Boston Red Sox in Game 2 of the 2004 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals was sold for $92,613 at a live auction in New York.
• Yankees captain Derek Jeter practiced on-field running and agility drills in Tampa, Fla., for the first time since breaking his ankle last fall. “It’s a natural progression, but everything went good,” Jeter said.
• Rays third baseman Evan Longoria returned to camp in Port Charlotte, Fla., after missing three days due to the birth of his daughter.
• The Pittsburgh Pirates reached agreement with 41-year-old pitcher Jose Contreras on a minor-league contract.
• Miami Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis broke his right collarbone in the team’s spring training opener in Jupiter, Fla., and is expected to be out six weeks.
• Ryan Vogelsong pitched two scoreless innings, Pablo Sandoval lumbered home on Jackson Williams’ double and the San Francisco Giants opened Cactus League play with a 4-1 victory over a Los Angeles Angels split squad in Scottsdale, Ariz.
• Clayton Kershaw got off to a shaky start in his spring debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 9-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox in Glendale, Ariz. The 2011 NL Cy Young winner allowed two runs and four hits in two innings.
• Toronto outfielders Mike McCoy and Ryan Langerhans were both shaken up after colliding on a fly ball in the seventh inning of the Blue Jays’ 10-3 win over the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. Langerhans stayed in the game. McCoy got up and was able to walk toward the clubhouse with a left quad contusion. Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera both homered for the Tigers.
• Stephen Strasburg had a rocky return to the mound in his first outing since the Washington Nationals shut him down last September to protect his arm. Strasburg gave up a single and a full-count homer to the first two batters he faced as the New York Mets beat Washington 5-3 in a spring training opener in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
• Boston starter John Lackey returned to the mound after missing last year, allowing one run in one inning as a split squad of Tampa Bay Rays beat the Red Sox 4-3 in Fort Myers, Fla.