GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ryan Braun continued his Spring Training surge with a tape-measure home run on Friday, and would have had an even better afternoon if not for a couple of his old buddies.Jerry Hairston Jr., a Brewers teammate last season, robbed Braun of two more hits with diving catches, one in the third inning and again in the sixth. And Chris Capuano, a friend since Braun's first big league camp with the Brewers in 2006, threw a pitch behind Braun in the sixth inning of a game that included three plunkings, prompting warnings for both benches. You don't see that every day in Spring Training. "It's probably happened before," said Braun, who hadn't seen it himself. "I don't remember any specific instances, but I'm sure it's happened before." Braun said he likes Capuano, calling him "a good dude" and "a great teammate." He got to know Hairston last season, after the Brewers acquired the versatile veteran from the Nationals. "He got all of his diving catches out of the way in one game," Braun said. "When we see him in April, he's going to have none left." The Dodgers come to Miller Park for a three-game set April 17-19.
By then, Braun and the Brewers will have a much better idea of the landscape for 2012, with Braun trying to defend his National League Most Valuable Player Award after a winter spent beating a drug suspension. He was booed by fans on Friday at Camelback Ranch, tough treatment for a Los Angeles native who drew up rooting for the Dodgers.Braun will bid to win back fans from the batter's box, where he is having success of late. With Friday's home run, a booming blast that cleared a party area in left field, bounced off a sidewalk and went over a back fence, Braun has reached safely in eight straight games. He has a hit in five of his last six games. He shrugged it off. Braun has said often that Spring Training results don't matter. "As long as I feel good, I'm seeing the ball good, it's inevitable I'm going to have success," Braun said. Braun planned to finish his day over dinner with the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki, the fellow 2005 Draft pick who made some supportive comments to FoxSports.com this week. Tulowitzki said, "I feel for him if he is as innocent as he says he is, about how his offseason must have been." The Dodgers' Matt Kemp, the runner-up to Braun in last year's MVP balloting, has also been an ally. Braun and Kemp caught up at Camelback Ranch before Friday's game, and Braun said he counted Kemp among his good friends. Of the fan reaction ahead, Braun said. "I'm not fearful, by any means." "The best thing I can do to move forward is to have success, hope our team gets back to the postseason, continue to do the things I've done over the last five years," Braun said. "That's what I plan on doing. I don't know if I've definitely lost [the fans]. I don't sit here and analyze what people think or have to say when the opinions are based on a lack of information." Braun already convinced the three people whose opinion mattered, a three-member special panel convened by Major League Baseball to hear his appeal. Braun won by a two-to-one margin, with independent arbitrator Shyam Das casting the deciding vote. "It's unfortunate and disappointing," Braun said, "that people would make judgments or form an opinion without actually knowing what happened." That's the second time this spring that Braun has alluded to a "real story." Is he tempted to make the full story public? "Nope," he said. "It's over. I'm not going into it. It's not good for baseball, it's not good for [the Brewers], it's not good for me. It's not good for anybody." Dredging up the details, he added, "just makes it a bigger story again, and it's not good for anybody if that occurs. I've already been exonerated. Nobody else's opinion is relevant to me, I have to be honest with you. The people that are close to me, my friends, my family, know the truth, and beyond that, people are always going to have an opinion." That's not to say he isn't tempted to talk. "Tempted? Of course," Braun said. "But beyond that, it really wouldn't do anybody any good." He's eager to begin the regular season. "I feel great," he said. "I'm excited to get started. I really am."