Braun downplays importance of hot start

Braun downplays importance of hot start

PHOENIX -- Ryan Braun is off to a blistering start, but still believes Spring Training statistics don't matter one bit.

"Of course they don't matter," Braun said Wednesday. "Whether I'm 0-for-7 or 7-for-7, it makes no difference. You can't take them with you into the season."

For the record, Braun is 6-for-7 in his first four Cactus League games, and has reached safely in eight of nine plate appearances. Last week, he homered against A's left-hander Tommy Milone in Braun's first plate appearance since he was suspended. On Wednesday, he singled in the first inning and took A's right-hander Jarrod Parker deep leading off the fourth.

In a small sample, Braun is batting .857 so far, with an .889 on-base percentage and a 1.857 slugging percentage.

"He's just one of those gifted guys that can sit out a long time, and he doesn't need a lot of at-bats in Spring Training, and he can hit," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I can remember Garret Anderson being out on the [disabled list] and coming back and getting three hits. I don't know if it's just hand-eye coordination, if it's their confidence. It's probably a combination, but they're not like everybody else. They don't struggle so much."

Asked whether he was always a fast starter, Braun said, "Not necessarily, and every year is a bit different. I pride myself on coming to Spring Training in good shape, physically, so that I'm ready to go out there and compete and hopefully perform. But other than that, I don't really remember Spring Training, to be honest with you."

It helps that Braun has remained reasonably healthy so far. Before he was suspended last season, he was bothered by a painful bruise near his right thumb, the result of being jammed by opposing pitchers. Braun worked with Brewers medical staffers on ways to pad his hand, but did not like any of the options.

"I still get treatment or ice it or do what I can to protect it a little bit," he said. "But anything that inhibits my typical swing, I strongly dislike. We tried a lot of different things last year and I never really got comfortable with any of them, so I just said I'm not doing anything this year, and hope for the best."

How did his hand feel Wednesday?

"Not bad," Braun said. "It's OK."

Roenicke said he is not worried.

"I'm not trying to worry about stuff with him," he said. "[Braun] has to do what he does. I couldn't have anything on the bat. I hated to wear batting glove. It's a certain feel, and he wants that feel. You try to alter it and do certain things, and all of a sudden it isn't right."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.