Notes: Braun progressing in left field

Notes: Braun progressing in left field

PHOENIX -- Manager Ned Yost's eyes are fixed on Ryan Braun, penciled in as the Brewers' left fielder this season.

For Braun, left field will be new turf after he spent 2007 as the team's third baseman. So Braun has a lot of adjustments ahead of him, which include the throws that he'll have to make as an outfielder.

On Monday, Yost ran his outfielders through throwing drills for the first time, and Braun showed he might be on his way to mastering that side of things, which is no simple task.

An outfielder doesn't have to make the strong, quick throws that are typical of what a third baseman faces time and again, Yost said.

"Brauny looked great -- nice, one hop throws everywhere," Yost said before the intrasquad game Tuesday. "He's doing fine."

Anybody who is making the jump from infield to outfield will need to master the mental side of throwing. He must decide: to throw or not to throw.

"At times, you have to cut your losses and keep your team in position to still turn a double play, instead of coming up and trying to make the macho throw," Yost said. "You're never gonna get the guy."

Figuring out when to throw and when not to is what Braun is learning, and Spring Training is the best place for that learning, though not necessarily in outfield drills. Braun isn't altogether certain where he is in the learning process.

"Until I actually start playing games, it'll be difficult to tell," he said. "In practice, obviously, you don't have too many decisions to make as far as which base to throw to."

Play ball! As he watched his ballclub play an intrasquad game on Tuesday, Yost said he wasn't looking for anything, aside from simply watching his players play in a game.

"They were looking forward to it too," Yost said.

The manager praised their effort, which he said has been typical of his ballclub.

"This is what is bred into 'em," he said. "They run hard out of the box. They play hard, even in intrasquad games."

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Stay away, please: Pitching coach Mike Maddux poked his head into the manager's office and told Yost that closer Eric Gagne, bedridden with the flu, had called and said he was coming back to camp.

As good as that news might have sounded to some people, it didn't draw any applause or high fives from Yost, who thought everybody in camp might be better served if Gagne stayed home awhile longer.

"You wanna quarantine him?" Maddux asked.

"Yeah," Yost said, "I wanna quarantine him. I don't want him around anybody. Put a bubble on him when he gets in."

He told Maddux to tell Gagne, who was coming in to see the team's trainers, it was OK if he didn't bother to show up at all on Tuesday.

A-OK: Right-hander Salomon Torres, who'd been nursing a sore arm, seems to have gotten back into form. Yost pronounced Torres fit and ready for action.

"He's been throwing every day; he's fine," Yost said of Torres, who's trying to earn a spot in the Brewers' bullpen after spending the past six seasons with the Pirates. "He's getting really, really close to getting back on the mound."

Odds 'n' ends: Right-hander Claudio Vargas will start the Cactus League opener on Friday at 2:05 p.m. CT against the Athletics. "He's pitching all of two innings," Yost said. ... Abraham Nunez got the first "unofficial" hit of Spring Training when he singled in the first inning off right-hander Dave Bush. Nunez didn't stay on base long. Catcher Mike Rivera gunned him down trying to steal second. ... Right-hander Jeff Suppan pitched a one-two-three inning. ... The first RBI of the spring went to Gabe Gross, whose single in the top of the second drove in the game's first run. ... Bill Hall had a two-run double that challenged Braun's ability to judge the high Arizona sky. Yost said Braun handled the fly as well as anybody could have. The ball was destined for a double, and it drove in the game-winning runs for the home side. ... The Brewers will play the Padres in a "B" game Monday.

Did you know: Since 2004, Torres has led all Major League pitchers in appearances with 312. His 332 2/3 innings are the second most in the game behind Angels reliever Scot Shields.

Next up: The Brewers will play another intrasquad game Wednesday afternoon at Maryvale Baseball Park. Game time is 1 p.m. Torres, Gagne and right-hander Mark DiFelice, who's trying to recover from offseason knee surgery, are the only pitchers that Yost doesn't plan to use in either of the games.

Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.