PHOENIX -- Ryan Braun put a ball in play, and then some.

Braun hit a long third-inning home run against Reds left-hander Sean Marshall on Thursday, a blast that clanked high off the center field batters' eye. It snapped an 0-for-5 start to Braun's under-the-spotlight Spring Training, which began with four hitless at-bats with nary a ball hit between the foul lines. He joked then that Step 1 was putting a ball in play.

Check. Braun flew out to center field in the first inning. In the third, he connected against Marshall.

"We're making progress," Braun said.

Manager Ron Roenicke figured it was a relief for Braun to get on the board.

"He doesn't like to go one day without a hit," Roenicke said.

Braun realizes that the world is watching his return from a tumultuous winter, in which he won the National League MVP award with the specter of a 50-game drug suspension hanging over his head. He successfully appealed, and will be the Brewers' left fielder on Opening Day.

Now, one of baseball's most popular players is one of its most scrutinized.

"I get it. I know people are going to be paying more attention," Braun said. "But for me, my goal is to try to have the same approach I've always had. Prepare myself for the start of the season."

Braun has played three Cactus League games so far, all at Maryvale Baseball Park. He plans to start again Friday against the Indians and Sunday against the Rockies, and he might not appear in a road venue until March 17, when the Brewers visit the Angels in Tempe.

On the road in the regular season, Braun knows it will be different.

"It's going to be an adventure every day," he said. "It's going to be a circus at times. It's going to be entertaining."

Fans have been "incredibly supportive," Braun said. So have many fellow players, especially those with whom Braun has shared what he called "the real story."

"People are going to have different opinions," Braun said. "Most of them don't know the real story. It's tough sometimes to base your opinion or formulate a decision when you don't know what happened. Overall, everybody has been real supportive."

Will the public ever hear his version of "the real story?"

"I highly doubt it," Braun said. "They're probably not going to know too much more than they know now."