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Braun situation not affecting Brewers' strategy

Braun situation not affecting Brewers' strategy

Braun situation not affecting Brewers' strategy
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said Wednesday it's business as usual despite the uncertainty over whether Ryan Braun will be available or have to miss the first 50 games of the 2012 season because of a positive drug test.

Melvin, at Miller Park to introduce new third baseman Aramis Ramirez, said he had no update on Braun's situation.

"I first knew about it when it was breaking news the other day," Melvin said of the report, which came out Saturday. "[ESPN's Tim Kurkjian] said something to me in Dallas [at the Winter Meetings] and said there were guys who may run with the story, and that's the first time I ever heard of it. I was shocked and surprised."

ESPN.com reported on Saturday that it was a performance-enhancing drug that triggered Braun's failed test, given as part of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Policy. On Sunday, a source familiar with the situation told MLB.com it was not a performance-enhancing drug that led to the violation.

Braun is appealing the results, and his case will most likely come before a three-person panel in January.

"We're moving forward, counting on Ryan being in the lineup," Melvin said Wednesday.

The Brewers know they will open the season without Prince Fielder, who is a free agent and has yet to sign with a new team. Adding Ramirez will help with the offense. The potential loss of Braun for the first 50 games has not affected the Brewers' strategy this offseason.

"We're just doing business as normal," Melvin said.

Ramirez, who won his first Silver Slugger award in 2011 and hit .306 with 26 homers, will be expected to pick up the slack.

"You're going to miss those guys if Ryan Braun is suspended, but I think you win with pitching and the pitching is there," Ramirez said. "Of course, you need to score runs, but the key to winning is pitching."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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