PHOENIX -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said that left fielder Ryan Braun remains upbeat amid his long appeal of a drug suspension, and is planning to be in camp for the team's first full-squad workout on Saturday."He's been doing good all winter though this, and he's excited to get going in Spring Training," said Roenicke, who spoke with Braun several weeks ago and exchanged text messages in recent days. "Hopefully, the outcome will be the way we all want it. "I know everybody thinks it's really hard, but it's not something that I dwell on. I know what happens during the course of a season when you lose players -- key players -- and it's part of baseball. You just deal with it." Braun faces a suspension under Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. An appeal hearing began on Jan. 19, but arbitrators have yet to render a ruling.
Suspended Rogers focused on pitching
PHOENIX -- If any of Ryan Braun's teammates can understand the left fielder's current waiting game, it's fellow first-round Draft pick Mark Rogers, who is in the middle of serving a suspension for a banned substance and will miss the start of 2012.
The difference is that Rogers, a right-hander drafted by the Brewers in 2004 -- one year before Braun -- only waited a month for his appeal to be resolved, and blames himself for a 25-game suspension levied last May after Rogers tested positive for a banned stimulant. He'd had a setback with his surgically-repaired shoulder in Spring Training and was struggling with a new wrist ailment that would eventually need surgery, and said he took a number of over-the-counter supplements in an attempt to salvage his season."Obviously, I took a supplement that wasn't [approved]," Rogers said. "I was surprised to get that phone call. But it's definitely my fault. I take full responsibility for everything I put in my body, and I let that lapse." Rogers declined to name the supplements he was taking at the time because he has not pinpointed which one triggered the positive test. He made a list of them at one point, but months have passed and Rogers says he was not sure if the list was complete. Rogers briefly appealed his suspension, but never went to a hearing. "I felt stupid," he said. "Obviously, I regret what happened, but it falls on nobody's shoulders but my own. I'm paying the penalty for it." He's focused on pitching at the moment, and on that front Rogers' 2012 season is looking up. After being handed his suspension, Rogers underwent carpal tunnel surgery on both of his wrists to relieve discomfort that had affected his control. "I'm as close to 100 percent as I can possibly be at this point," Rogers said. The rare procedure re-routed a nerve in Rogers' wrist, correcting a hereditary condition that he said also affected three of his grandparents. Before the surgery, Rogers would periodically lose his "feel" for the baseball, leading to the occasional game in which his walk total would jump. "You know when you wake up and you've slept on your arm? It was that feeling in my hand," Rogers said. "I would release balls and get that tingly sensation. The more I threw, the worse it would get." The maddening part, Rogers said, is that he never knew when the problem would strike. Rogers could feel great for three starts in a row, have a terrific bullpen session and then take the mound one night and have no command at all. It became a mental issue on top of a physical one. "I feel significantly different now," Rogers said. Rogers does not count against the Brewers' 40-man roster while he is suspended.
Rogers was one of five players in their pre-arbitration seasons to agree to 2012 contracts on Monday, along with right-handers Tim Dillard, Marco Estrada and Mike McClendon and catcher Martin Maldonado. Players still unsigned are closer John Axford and fellow pitchers Zach Braddock, Mike Fiers, Brandon Kintzler and Chris Narveson, and catcher Jonathan Lucroy.