PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer said he's thrilled for Ryan Braun, even though Braun's successful appeal of a drug suspension means Schafer might have to start the season in the Minor Leagues.
Had Braun been suspended 50 games, Schafer would have been a leading candidate for a spot on the Opening Day roster. Now, barring injury, the Brewers appear to have the five outfield spots spoken for by Braun, Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan, Carlos Gomez and Japanese import Nori Aoki.
"Justice was served, and it's a good day for Brewer Nation," Schafer said. "To be able to have Ryan Braun in the lineup every day, that's something every team would be dying for. This makes everyone here in the clubhouse more than happy."
Schafer, 25, made an eight-game big league debut last season but spent most of the season in the Minors, where he batted .315. Schafer split the year between three affiliates after breaking his thumb during Spring Training.
K-Rod reports, says he's fine with setup role
PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Calling it "a new chapter in my life," reliever Francisco Rodriguez reported for Spring Training on Friday and insisted he'll be happy as the Brewers' setup man.
Four months ago, it was difficult to envision Rodriguez coming back. He expressed some displeasure following a July trade from the Mets with his role as Milwaukee's eighth-inning specialist, and most observers expected Rodriguez to seek a closer's job on the free agent market.
The Brewers offered him arbitration to position the club to receive Draft compensation if he declined and moved on. But Rodriguez surprised them by accepting, assuring he'd be back as John Axford's setup man.
Was any part of him surprised to be back?
"No," Rodriguez insisted. "A lot of people were shocked and surprised, but for me, no. I had a really great experience last year in Milwaukee. The organization opened [its] arms to me for three and a half months and made me feel so special. The fans, the way they treated my family. I liked the city. That was something that I was looking for, so my decision was a lot easier when I had to make it.
"This year, the mentality, the preparation is going to come as a setup [man], and hopefully in the future, I'll get the opportunity to close again."
Said manager Ron Roenicke: "I don't think he was an unhappy camper [last season] like you guys think he was. I've said all along, Frankie is a closer. He's one of the best I've ever seen. Can he still do that job? Absolutely, 100 percent, he can do that job. But I love having him in our eighth inning and having 'Ax' in the ninth."
Rodriguez said he and agent Scott Boras accepted arbitration after seeking a job as a closer. That market was tough for a number of established free agents including Ryan Madson and Francisco Cordero, both of whom had to take one-year deals.
Rodriguez said little about a dispute with his former agents, whom he contends failed to file a no-trade list as part of his previous contract with the Mets. He said he included the Brewers on that list because Trevor Hoffman was the closer at the time. That oversight, Rodriguez contends, allowed New York to trade him to Milwaukee in the first place, essentially costing K-Rod his closer's role. He is reportedly considering legal action.
But the pitcher known as K-Rod made clear Friday that he has no beef with the Brewers. Rodriguez said he reported later than the rest of the pitchers because he had personal issues to tend to in Venezuela.
"I'm really honored and happy to be here, trust me," he said. "If I didn't feel happy last year ... we would have gone our separate ways."
The Brewers expect all of their players in camp for Saturday's first full-squad workout, to be preceded by addresses from principal owner Mark Attanasio, general manager Doug Melvin and Roenicke. Asked whether he was working on his comments, Roenicke said, "I've thought about some things. I don't necessarily sit down and go over a lot, but when you address guys you don't always want to repeat the same things every year. Certainly, the things that I think are important in what we did last year, and why we succeeded, I'll touch on those."