03/24/12 7:30 PM ET
Lawrie says he was happy to be traded
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
"I felt like I wasn't given the opportunity that I needed there," Lawrie told ESPN reporter Jayson Stark. "And it was time for a move, and they needed some pitching, so I was the first candidate to be kind of kicked out the door. I guess you could say it was OK with me because ... I needed a fresh start. I needed a new team. I needed some new guys. And I think it was a good way to jump into the big leagues. I got a chance to jump in with a new team."
He also said, "Things tend to go wrong when you try and change people. And I think when I was with the Brewers and I was in the Minor League system, it felt like I was trying to be changed -- like they were trying to change me, like I was the same as everybody else. I'm not the same as everybody else. I'm Brett Lawrie. It's like, everyone's different. You can't try and make everyone be the same."
Lawrie, a sensational hitter entering his first full Major League season, was the price paid for starter Shaun Marcum, who, with fellow acquisition Zack Greinke, helped solidify a starting rotation that delivered the Brewers to the 2011 National League Championship Series.
From a baseball standpoint, the deal made sense for each team.
But both Lawrie and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told Stark about underlying tensions between Lawrie and the team that made him a first-round Draft pick in 2008. Those issues, Melvin said, accounted for only "some small percentage" of the logic behind the trade.
"I think he felt we were taking his aggressive personality away from him," Melvin told Stark. "But we didn't try to change him. When he first came in, we let him do what he wanted to do. When he first signed, he wanted to be a catcher because he thought that was the quickest way to the big leagues. Then, he said he wanted to play second base because he thought Rickie Weeks would become a free agent. Then, we signed Rickie to a long-term deal, and he wanted to play third base. But he was just a kid looking for the quickest way to the big leagues. And there's nothing wrong with that."
Stark detailed what he termed "a major blow-up" at the end of the 2010 season, when Lawrie refused an assignment to the Arizona Fall League.
"We told him the plan was, 'If you go to the Arizona Fall League, we'll invite you to big league camp, at 19, and that's never happened before here,'" Melvin said. "He said, 'I'm not going to the Fall League.' We said, 'Then we can't invite you to big league camp.' He said, 'I should be in the big leagues in September.' We said, 'We know what we're doing. We have a lot of confidence in your ability. Please trust us.' But he wanted to be in the big leagues."
Braddock fighting clock to impress Crew
PHOENIX -- Brewers left-hander Zach Braddock is healthy again and has less than two weeks to prove he deserves a spot in the Brewers' bullpen.
"That's the plan," Braddock said. "I can't have any other reality, you know? I have to make adjustments within the time I have allotted."
Braddock, 24, was a key piece for manager Ken Macha in 2010, with a 2.94 ERA in 46 games. But he had a tough year in 2011 under new skipper Ron Roenicke, including trouble with a sleep disorder that sidelined Braddock for most of the second half.
He was temporarily sidelined this week by a minor muscle strain in his right leg. But Braddock worked a scoreless inning against the D-backs on Wednesday and another on Friday against the Angels.
Roenicke said Braddock's fastball sat in the 89-90-mph range on Friday, 3-4 mph off his velocity in 2010, but general manager Doug Melvin said the club wasn't concerned. Plenty of pitchers around the game, Melvin argued, are working with decreased velocity this spring.
"He needs to start pitching well to make our team," Roenicke said. "I think now that he's healthy, he needs to step it up a bit. Command pitches. Show us something to where we think he's that guy that he was a couple of years ago when he pitched so well."
Braddock's left-handed bullpen competitor is Manny Parra, who is coming back from a 2011 lost to back and elbow injuries. Parra stretched out in a Minor League appearance on Thursday, throwing 46 pitches.
Parra is out of Minor League options, while Braddock has two options remaining.
Numbers aside, Braun rounding into form
PHOENIX -- Ryan Braun's Cactus League batting average might not be showing it, but manager Ron Roenicke argues that the National League MVP is getting closer to form with each passing day.
Braun was hitless in two official at-bats on Saturday but worked a walk in the Brewers' 6-4 loss to the White Sox at Maryvale Baseball Park. He's walked in four straight games, and Roenicke says that Braun has been squaring up the baseball more consistently.
"Brauny's [plate appearances], I think they're getting better all the time," Roenicke said. "I think he's seeing pitches better. I know maybe the results weren't there, but when he's walking and seeing pitches and taking good swings, I'm encouraged."
Braun has shrugged off his spring batting average, citing the Spring Training "process" above results. Teammates say they have seen no signs of the star being frustrated about batting .095 (2-for-21).
"Same old Brauny," said second baseman Rickie Weeks. "Watch him take batting practice. The power is there, everything is there. He's a really good player, and you're going to see that in the season."
Braun is bidding to follow up a season in which he batted .332 with 33 home runs, 111 RBIs and 33 stolen bases.
Weeks was originally in the starting lineup on Saturday, but that changed about an hour before the game. A Brewers spokesperson said the switch was "nothing medical, just a day off."
Two promising Brewers prospects were injured in camp on Friday, Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash confirmed.
Twenty-two-year-old first baseman Nick Ramirez, the team's fourth-round pick in last year's Draft, told his Twitter followers that he had broken the hamate bone in his right hand. He will undergo surgery on Wednesday and miss 6-7 weeks. Outfielder Max Walla, a second-round pick in 2009, will be sidelined up to four weeks by a fractured left index finger.