Braun's Spring Training comment draws reaction

Braun's Spring Training comment draws reaction

PHOENIX -- The gaggle of reporters thought Ryan Braun was kidding, but the Brewers outfielder said he was serious when he uttered the quote that would go on to make the social media rounds Thursday.

It was Braun being Braun, at least when it comes to Spring Training.

"My favorite Spring Training at-bat is a first-pitch lineout to center," Braun said. "Or even better, a first-pitch line-drive double play. Because we're all in the business of saving time. We don't get paid by the hour.

"I'm serious. I'm not kidding."

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Why would a Major Leaguer make light of making outs in games that don't count in the standings? The conversation started with a long fifth-inning battle between Braun and D-backs right-hander Tyler Jones -- born and raised in Milwaukee, incidentally -- which ended with a popup. It fell for a go-ahead run-scoring error in an 8-5 Brewers win.

While Braun was credited with neither a hit nor an RBI, he was asked whether that sort of lengthy at-bat constituted a good thing in a Spring Training game. Seeing pitching is part of the point, after all.

The Twitter reaction was split on his answer. Some believed Braun not only was right -- Spring Training is necessary for pitchers but too long for hitters -- or that he was merely articulating what many veteran hitters think constitutes a good day -- hit the ball hard and go home. Many others took umbrage.

Braun, after all, will earn $19 million this season.

As Cactus and Grapefruit League games began last month, Braun said his ideal Spring Training would last a week or two. That's why he and the Brewers decided to push his debut to March 10, even though Braun was healthy entering camp.

"I mean, you just want to see some pitches," Braun said Thursday. "I've had quite a few at-bats where I've gotten deeper in counts. I've seen some righties, some lefties. I've stayed on some pitches, others not so well. Results in Spring Training don't matter, it's just a matter of staying healthy and continuing to build and progress and work toward Opening Day.

"And I think it's actually not advantageous if you feel locked in too soon. You always want to feel like you're gradually building, so you don't get to a place where you're complacent at all with a few weeks left.

"Physically, I feel like I'm in a good place. I'm seeing the ball all right. I've gotten some different balls in the outfield. Been on base a few times and gotten to run the bases a little bit. So I'm starting to check off one box at a time."

Braun and the Brewers open the regular season against April 3 at Miller Park against the Rockies.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.