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Braun reports, puts focus back on field

PHOENIX — His 50-game suspension and months of anxiety lifted from his shoulders, Ryan Braun carried only an equipment bag containing his bat and glove.

No speeches or suspicions on this day.

Braun took batting practice, shagged fly balls and ran the bases like a kid, relishing every second in the sun.

Back on the field. Back where he belonged.

"It was a lot of fun," the leftfielder said Saturday after the Brewers' first full-squad spring workout. "I had a lot of fun today, just being around my teammates and being on the baseball field and getting to play baseball was nice. It was a lot of fun."

One day after he vehemently defended his innocence and integrity after his suspension for a positive drug test was overturned by an arbitrator, Braun, 28, was finally able to put the turmoil behind him.

After a morning team meeting, Braun headed out of the clubhouse and was greeted on the sidewalk by a large contingent of Milwaukee fans, who cheered and applauded.

"Atta boy, MVP," yelled one.

"Keep your head up," said another.

Braun smiled and said thanks.

In other Brewers news, owner Mark Attanasio said he "absolutely" intends to extend the contracts of general manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke beyond this season.

BOOZE BANNED: The Red Sox will ban alcohol in the clubhouse and on the last plane flight of road trips, new manager Bobby Valentine announced. The move comes in the wake of an epic September collapse, a tailspin that included reports of Boston starting pitchers drinking beer in the clubhouse on their off days rather than supporting their teammates in the dugout.

In other Red Sox news, owner John Henry apologized to leftfielder Carl Crawford for saying that he had opposed signing the former Rays All-Star.

CARTER TRIBUTE: The Mets will remember Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter by wearing a patch this season bearing his No. 8, ESPN reported. Carter died Feb. 16 at 57 after an eight-month battle with brain cancer.

A'S: Infielder Scott Sizemore was helped off the field after apparently injuring his left knee during fielding drills.

CARDINALS: Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith suited up as a spring instructor for the first time. A rift with former manager Tony La Russa over the way Smith's playing career ended had led to his estrangement.

TWINS: Joel Zumaya's comeback bid took a worrisome turn when the reliever ended a throwing session early because of discomfort in his right elbow. General manager Terry Ryan said Zumaya will have an MRI exam today. The right-hander has not pitched since he broke his right elbow on June 28, 2010.

Braun reports, puts focus back on field 02/25/12 [Last modified: Saturday, February 25, 2012 10:40pm]
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