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Braun calls fans to apologize

MILWAUKEE — Suspended Brewers slugger Ryan Braun is personally calling fans and offering an apology for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Wes Aldridge, 58, of Muskego got a call at his office, a phone number he had provided to the Brewers as a season ticket holder. Aldridge said he didn't waste any time getting to the question on the mind of many Brewers' fans. Why would he take a banned substance?

"The only thing he said was he had a friend that gave him the item and he didn't think it would do any harm at that time," Aldridge said.

On July 22, Braun agreed to a 65-game suspension resulting from MLB's investigation of the Biogenesis clinic, which was accused of providing banned substances to players. Braun admitted he took a cream and a lozenge containing banned substances while rehabilitating an injury during his 2011 National League MVP season.

The calls started Thursday.

"It was his idea," said Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers' chief operating officer. "He came to us and said he wanted to call fans," including season ticket holders, partial season ticket holders and individual buyers.

The Brewers turned over a list of several dozen random names, Schlesinger said.

"He said he wanted to call everybody on the list," Schlesinger added.

After Braun started making calls, the Brewers began to hear from some of the fans he called, according to Tyler Barnes, the Brewers vice president of communications.

"They were appreciative of the outreach. The vast majority were appreciative of it," Barnes said.

"He expects some fans will still be angry with him and tell him so on the phone. He wanted to hear the good, the bad and the ugly," Schlesinger said.

Cardinals: RHP Jake Westbrook (lower back strain) was activated from the DL, rejoining the team for a three-game series against NL Central-leading Pittsburgh.

Dodgers: LHP Chris Capuano, who has been on the DL with a strained calf and strained shoulder, left his start against the Reds in the second inning with a mild groin strain. He was replaced by RHP Peter Moylan.

Indians: LF Michael Brantley returned to his home in West Palm Beach to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Manager Terry Francona was not sure how long Brantley would be gone.

Mets: LHP Scott Rice, who leads the majors with 73 appearances, will have sports hernia surgery and miss the rest of the season.

Nationals: CF Denard Span, who has a career-high 17-game hitting streak, was scratched with tightness in his groin. He was replaced by Corey Brown, who hit leadoff.

Red Sox: CF Jacoby Ellsbury did not play against the Yankees because of a sore right foot. Shane Victorino shifted to center from rightfield and hit leadoff. Ellsbury aggravated his ailing foot when he stole second base in the 10th Thursday.

Rockies: RHP Roy Oswalt, who signed a minor-league deal in May and had been out with a strained left hamstring, was activated along with RHP Drew Pomeranz.

Twins: C Joe Mauer is not clear of his concussion symptoms yet and missed a 16th straight game. There's no timetable for his return.

Braun calls fans to apologize 09/06/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 9:56pm]
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