03/06/12 7:27 PM ET
Bianchi laughs off baserunning blooper
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Braun unconcerned with hitless spring start
PHOENIX -- Ryan Braun struck out and fouled out in his second Spring Training game on Tuesday and figures he has better days ahead of him."I can only head in one direction from here," Braun quipped after exiting the Brewers-A's game at Maryvale Baseball Park. Braun struck out in both trips to the plate against the Giants on Sunday, then whiffed again against A's left-hander Tom Milone on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. He snapped his strikeout streak in the fourth inning with a foul pop to the first baseman. It's too early to call it a spring slump.
"The overwhelming odds," Braun said with a smile, "are that I'm going to put one in fair territory one of these days." That's probably true, considering he's the reigning National League MVP. Braun made offseason headlines by successfully appealing a drug suspension but said that issue did not impact his usual array of winter workouts and hitting. His quiet start is atypical; Braun usually needs only a handful of Spring Training at-bats to feel ready for Opening Day.He is on an every-other-day spring schedule for now and will be off Wednesday when the Brewers go to Glendale, Ariz., to face the White Sox. Braun will go for that first Cactus League hit on Thursday against Mike Leake and the Reds. Later in camp, Braun will play more regularly. He's aiming for 30-40 Arizona at-bats, but the plan could change based on feel. "The timing and rhythm are starting to come," Braun said. "The goal is just to see different pitches, see different pitchers and try to see the ball."
Hart's surgery successful, out 3-4 weeks
PHOENIX -- Brewers right fielder Corey Hart had successful surgery Tuesday morning to repair torn cartilage in his right knee, and club officials left in place the 3-4 week timetable for his recovery.That qualified as good news for the Brewers, who were waiting for word from Drs. Evan Lederman and William Raasch as to the extent of damage to Hart's meniscus. That the rehabilitation timetable remained the same was an indication that the arthroscopic surgery went just as planned. Hart said he would be back at Maryvale Baseball Park on Wednesday morning to begin rehab. He would not rule out Opening Day, but a more realistic timetable has Hart beginning to take at-bats in late March and beginning the regular season on the Brewers' disabled list. Such an assignment could be backdated to March 26, allowing Hart to return as early as the team's second series of the season. "I know what I need to do to get ready," Hart said Monday, "and I'll find a way to get back."
Marcum declines comment on shoulder
PHOENIX -- Brewers starter Shaun Marcum declined a request to discuss his sore right shoulder on Tuesday morning and later sent word through a team spokesperson that he did not want address what he considers a minor issue.Marcum, a free agent after this season, was examined by head team physician William Raasch on Monday and has been shut down from throwing on Tuesday and Wednesday, an indication that he may have received a cortisone shot to address inflammation in his shoulder. Marcum will be re-evaluated Thursday, and will not be able to make his first Cactus League start on Saturday as originally planned. But Marcum and the Brewers are billing the soreness as only a minor bother, pointing out that Marcum had a similarly abbreviated Spring Training last year and was the team's best early-season pitcher, going 6-1 with a 2.37 ERA over his first 10 starts. At the moment, the Brewers plan for Marcum to be part of the season-opening starting rotation. If that changes, manager Ron Roenicke identified three candidates who will be stretched out as starters in Major League camp: Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers and Wily Peralta. Estrada would be in the Brewers' bullpen if he's not needed as a starter, and Fiers could get a look for the bullpen, too, according to Roenicke. Peralta would start at Triple-A Nashville if he does not make the Brewers' cut. Estrada is currently scheduled for two Cactus League starts and Fiers will make at least one. "Those three, we think, are ready to pitch in the big leagues," Roenicke said. "And if something happens in the season, that's who we're looking at."
Hart's injury could help nonroster invitee Travis Ishikawa make the Opening Day cut as a hybrid player. Ishikawa, who belted a long home run in Monday's win against the Giants, is an excellent defensive first baseman. He has also played the outfield and will do so in this camp, Roenicke said. Other candidates to be the backup first baseman are veteran Brooks Conrad and prospect Taylor Green.