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Narveson twirls gem to give Brewers victory

June 27, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Chris Narveson may not need to find a clubhouse assistant to pitch the first inning for him after all.

Instead, Narveson just pitched the first inning in the bullpen.

After taking his initial warmup easy before Sunday’s 3-0 victory over the Mariners, Narveson and catcher Jonathan Lucroy simulated the first two batters he would face in the bullpen before heading out to the mound. The idea was to shake the struggles that accounted for a 12.27 first-frame ERA this season.

And it worked. Narveson responded by going out and turning in a career-best performance for his seventh win of the season.

The southpaw tossed eight scoreless innings, allowing just five baserunners on four hits and one walk while recording seven strikeouts as the Brewers took the rubber match at Miller Park.

“Just mentally being prepared for them to play my game rather than seeing how they would react to my stuff,” said Narveson, referring to what he changed in his approach on the mound.

“I wanted to put the pressure on them and try to command the strike zone so they were hitting my pitch, instead of falling behind and have to maybe come into their pitch.”

After a two-out double in the first by left fielder Milton Bradley, the Brewers lefty responded quickly by getting third baseman Jose Lopez to fly out. That began a stretch of nine consecutive retired batters.

Through three innings, Narveson — who entered the game with a 5.76 ERA — had retired nine of the 10 batters he faced. He extended that streak to 11 of 12 before giving up a single to Lopez in the fourth.

“He did a nice job of getting ahead of our hitters,” said Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu. “After that, I thought we helped him out quite a bit with pitches outside of the zone.”

Before a sixth-inning single by second baseman Chone Figgins, Narveson had retired 17 of 19. Through seven innings, Narveson sent down 21 of the 24 batters he faced.

To complete the deviation from the norm, Narveson’s last inning was his worst, as he allowed two Seattle batsmen to reach base — on a leadoff single by shortstop Jack Wilson and a walk to Ryan Langerhans. Thanks to an inning-ending double play, though, Narveson escaped with his scoreless outing intact.

“He was awesome. He mixed his pitches well and threw his strengths to the hitters’ weaknesses,” Lucroy said. “He’s just keeping the ball down. All of his pitches were working today. Whenever the pitcher has that ability to mix all of his pitches and locate them and keep them down, it’s very rare that a guy gets beat doing that.”

A leadoff home run by Rickie Weeks provided all the offense Narveson and the Brewers needed.

Weeks was not done, however, as he finished the day 4-for-5, adding a double in the third and a pair of singles in the fifth and seventh. After opening the game with a homer, double and single, Weeks came up a triple shy of the cycle.

The four hits tied a career high, and it was Weeks’ fourth-career four-hit game. He last recorded four hits in a game on Sept. 2, 2008, against the Mets.

“It feels good,” Weeks said. “It’s just another day for me I guess. For the most part, you just try to get on base and you try to score runs to help the ballclub win.

“That’s my job — to get on base and try to score some runs.”

The Brewers added a pair in the fifth as Alcides Escobar scored on a Corey Hart double and Hart came around one batter later on a sharply hit Prince Fielder single to right.

With the RBI, Fielder made it four consecutive games in which he’s driven in a run.

While his numbers are still down from a year ago, the Brewers first baseman now sits second on the team with 15 home runs and fifth with 31 RBIs.

The Brewers improved to 5-1 on their current homestand with three games remaining against the Astros. Milwaukee is seven games under .500 at 34-41, and the Brewers sit 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds.

According to skipper Ken Macha, the Brewers are doing what they need to if they want to get out of their self-dug hole.

“What I put a lot of stock in is winning series,” Macha said. “That’s a step in the right direction, winning the series. The sweep [against the Twins] was a big plus, because that takes a couple other series out of the way that you have to win.

“If we had lost today, it would have been a step backwards. We want to just keep moving forward.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers beat 6/27

June 27, 2010 Comments off

Parra recalls perfect game in Minors

MILWAUKEE — Three years ago this weekend, Brewers lefty Manny Parra had the best performance of his professional career when he tossed a perfect game for Triple-A Nashville.

In his second Pacific Coast League start, Parra retired 27 consecutive batters for the Sounds on June 25, 2007. Current Brewers bullpen coach Stan Kyles remembers the game well, as he was serving as the Sounds’ pitching coach at the time.

“It was the most dominating performance I’ve ever seen,” Kyles said. “He had 11 strikeouts, no balls were put in play hard, and it was just the best performance I’ve seen on the mound up close and personal. It was really impressive.”

What made the perfect game even more impressive was the way Parra’s bullpen session had gone prior to the game.

After struggling in his previous outing, Parra was not confident in his stuff as he warmed up. Once he reached the mound, however, everything changed.

“I remember when I was out in the bullpen, thinking it was going to be a struggle out there that day,” Parra said. “But when I got out to the mound, everything started going my way.

There was one ball, hit about five feet fair toward third, but just before reaching the bag it rolled foul. That was the one where I was like, ‘Wow, this could really happen.'”

Parra’s perfect game was the first thrown in the PCL since the Sounds’ John Wasdin did so on April 7, 2003.

“It’s something I never expected would happen to me,” Parra said. “I’ve always said I was not the kind of pitcher that would ever throw a no-hitter or perfect game because I tend to give up a lot of hits. That day, though, everything just came together for me.”

Gomez striving to be everyday player

MILWAUKEE — When the Brewers brought Carlos Gomez in from Minnesota, he was expected to be the club’s everyday center fielder. Despite his recent struggles, that’s still his goal.

“I want to play everyday no matter what happens at the plate,” Gomez said. “Everybody knows when they signed me that I was supposed to be the everyday center fielder.”

Brewers manager Ken Macha sees the potential in Gomez, but he has had a hard time keeping him in the lineup lately with his struggles at the plate.

For now, it appears as though Gomez will start against left-handed pitching and veteran center fielder Jim Edmonds will get the nod against righties. Like Gomez, though, Macha would like Gomez to improve to the point of facing both right-handers and southpaws.

“The plan was for [Gomez] to face right-handers also,” Macha said. “After he came off the DL and Jimmy was on the DL, he played against right-handers and he struggled.

“So hopefully we’ll get him to the point where he can be an everyday guy.”

For Gomez, the situation is much like the one he faced in Minnesota last season before the Twins traded him to the Brewers.

Gomez struggled to find playing time in a crowded outfield that featured three young outfielders in Delmon Young, Denard Span, and Gomez. According to Gomez, the one benefit of moving to the National League this season is being able to pinch-hit or enter as part of a double switch in any game.

Even with that, however, Gomez is not excited about the situation he’s faced with.

“I don’t want to be in this situation every year,” Gomez said. “I’m only 24 years old, and it’s happened to me two years in a row now. But they know what I can do if I play everyday. Good things can happen.”

Coffey needs time to freshen up to bigs

MILWAUKEE — Only time can help Brewers reliever Todd Coffey get back to the point he was at before going on the disabled list June 6.

Coffey struggled Tuesday in his first outing since returning, allowing two runs to score on two hits, as he did not record an out over three batters faced.

“The first one, probably, he doesn’t want to rehash that one,” said Milwaukee skipper Ken Macha. “[Saturday], he had a little lapse on covering first base, so that wasn’t good. Otherwise, he would’ve had a 1-2-3 inning. He threw the ball good.”

Though he made just one rehab appearance with Triple-A Nashville before returning, Coffey did not believe any additional time with the Sounds would have made a difference.

According to Coffey, pitching in the Minor Leagues does not do nearly as much as getting back into a pressure situation in the Majors after three weeks off.

“The first outing was a little shaky, but it was the first time I was really competitive in almost 20 days,” Coffey said. “Yesterday was definitely a step forward. I feel like I’m getting back on track.

“It’s not about the feeling off the mound down there, it’s about the feeling off the mound up here against big league hitters. It’s just going to take time. I took 20 days off, so it’s just going to take some time to get comfortable again.”

Brewers unveil top moment of 1980s

MILWAUKEE — With nearly 40 percent of the vote, Cecil Cooper’s two-run single in Game 5 of the 1982 ALCS against the Angels was selected as the top Brewers moment from the 1980s in fan and media voting.

Fittingly, all fans in attendance on Sunday received a bobblehead commemorating the hit.

Cooper’s game-winning hit gave the Brewers the American League pennant and advanced the club to its first World Series in franchise history.

Behind Cooper’s single, it was a close race for second place, as two moments from the 1987 season were decided by just 2.2 percent of the vote.

Dale Sveum’s walk-off home run on Easter Sunday, which extended the Brewers’ win streak to 12 games to open the season, edged out Juan Nieves’ no-hitter, which came just four days earlier.

The unveiling of the Top 3 moments from the 1980s occurred at 1 p.m. CT on broadcasts and in Miller Park. The same process will occur for the ’90s and 2000s, with separate polls and reveals for each decade.

On Sept. 3, the polls will open again at Brewers.com and fans will be asked to vote for their Top 3 moments in Brewers history from the group of Top 12 “finalist” moments (Top 3 moments from each decade).

Worth noting

Veteran center fielder Jim Edmonds celebrated his 40th birthday on Sunday. … With his appearance on Saturday, Trevor Hoffman moved into a tie for 11th place on the all-time games pitched list. … Sunday is the Brewers’ final Interleague contest of 2010. Despite going 5-10 last season and just 92-106 in the history of Interleague Play, Milwaukee entered Sunday’s contest with an 8-6 record against the AL this season and is guaranteed a winning record for the sixth time since Interleague Play began in 1997 — the first time since 2007.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wolf, Brewers done in by home run balls

June 26, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — In baseball, momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher.

It’s a quote that’s been used several times this season by manager Ken Macha and it came true on Saturday for the Brewers as they lost, 5-4, to the Mariners at Miller Park.

Entering the game riding a season-high five-game winning streak, the Brewers looked to veteran lefty Randy Wolf to help guide them to a sixth consecutive win. Unfortunately for Wolf and the Brewers, the lefty fell victim to something that has plagued him much of the season.

“It was the home run ball again today for Wolfie,” Macha said. “Both those home runs were legit anywhere.”

Wolf (5-7) gave up a solo home run in the third to left fielder Milton Bradley, which put the Mariners on top 2-0 going into the bottom half of the frame.

Wolf answered with a one-out double, which sparked a four-run rally for the Brewers.

After Wolf, second baseman Rickie Weeks drew a walk and right fielder Corey Hart doubled to left, plating both Wolf and Weeks. It was after Weeks scored, though, when things got interesting.

Weeks leveled Mariners catcher Rob Johnson as Bradley’s throw reached the plate, allowing the ball to get away. On the throw, Hart advanced to third, forcing a throw from Mariners starter Doug Fister.

As Fister’s throw got away from third baseman Jose Lopez, an alert Hart scampered home just ahead of the throw, giving Milwaukee a 3-2 lead.

“I’m still tired; I wish there wouldn’t have been that many mistakes so I could’ve stayed there [at second],” Hart joked after the game. “I think my legs were giving out [approaching home plate] and I was going to fall down no matter what, so I just tried to look a little better than it would have been.

“[The ball] kicked back, but I think the third baseman was looking for the outfielder. So I took off because he was kind of in la la land.”

First baseman Prince Fielder followed with a blast deep to right-center field, making it 4-2 in the Brewers’ favor. With that, it appeared as though for the second consecutive game the offense had quickly turned around what looked like was headed for a Brewers loss.

Unfortunately for them, any momentum was quickly lost in the top of the fourth.

Wolf gave up a one-out walk to Chone Figgins, who scored one batter later on a Franklin Gutierrez double. Lopez came up next and belted a 1-0 fastball to left, putting the Mariners back on top, 5-4.

Afterward, the lefty saw a common theme with the two home runs.

“The first was a changeup I threw to Milton Bradley that just got too much of the plate,” Wolf said. “The next one was a fastball that got too much of the plate.”

Making matters worse for the Brewers was the Mariners’ ability to silence the bats of the home team from the fourth inning on. After putting up four runs on three hits in the third, the Crew managed just one hit and zero runs over the final five frames.

Much of the credit for that belonged to reliever Brian Sweeney, who was lights out in his first Major League appearance since Sept. 29, 2006. Sweeney (1-0) tossed four scoreless innings, giving up just the one hit while striking out four.

“It’s been a while,” Sweeney said with a smile. “This is what you grow up as a kid dreaming about. You want to pitch in the big leagues. To get back here again feels just as good as the first time around. It’s always satisfying, no matter what. Being here, being a part of this team. I felt today just as I did in 2003 when I got that call.”

Wolf’s performance was especially disappointing because both he and the Brewers pitching staff as a whole had been performing so well of late.

Entering the game, Milwaukee had gotten nine quality starts over its last 13 games with the starters posting a 3.06 ERA during the same stretch. Brewers starters had gone 7-4 over that period while the team was 8-5.

With Wolf’s performance included, Brewers starters have a 3.29 ERA, having given up 32 earned runs over their last 14 games.

Wolf personally had posted back-to-back quality starts, going seven strong innings in each while giving up a combined three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and seven walks. Perhaps more importantly, Wolf surrendered just one home run in his last two outings.

On Saturday, struggles with his fastball cost Wolf a third straight quality start.

“I didn’t locate my fastball as well as I have my last two starts,” Wolf said. “Pretty much everything rides off your fastball, and when you don’t have good fastball command it’s hard to be successful. That was the story today.”

Brewers beat 6/26

June 26, 2010 Comments off

Davis to get one more rehab start

MILWAUKEE — Lefty Doug Davis is scheduled to start again Wednesday, when he’ll take the mound in Appleton for Class A Wisconsin in his third rehab outing.

After meeting with pitching coach Rick Peterson, bullpen coach Stan Kyles and general manager Doug Melvin earlier in the day, Brewers manager Ken Macha said Saturday they had decided they were not ready to put Davis back in the rotation just yet.

As a result, he’ll pitch for the Timber Rattlers with a target of 100 pitches. After that outing, Macha said he plans on Davis starting for the Brewers again shortly thereafter.

“We’ll fit him in somewhere before the All-Star break and he’ll get his first start back,” Macha said. “There were a whole bunch of reasons and I’m not going to enumerate them, just a whole bunch of reasons.

“Some of them are obvious. We’ve got guys pitching well. We’re going to get him slotted in and we’ve worked on trying to get everything lined up for a series and all the way up to the All-Star break.”

As for the blame as far as keeping Davis on the disabled list for another rehab start, Macha pointed to no one but himself.

“I told him if he’s upset, don’t be upset with anybody else but me,” Macha said. “He wants to get back in to pitch. But he was very understanding and he’s going to get back in to pitch.”

When Davis does return to the rotation, the Brewers could use five or six starters, Macha said. Regardless of what they do, changes will have to be made to both the rotation and the roster to fit Davis in.

As much as Macha would like to get Davis back in to pitch again, he recognizes the status of one starter in particular is not his top priority.

“We’ve got agendas to fill,” Macha said. “The No. 1 agenda is to get everybody in position to pitch well so that we can continue winning some games.”

Gerut, others on DL unsure of return date

MILWAUKEE — While one Brewers starter at least got some plan on Saturday for when he’ll return to the field, the general trend in the clubhouse among injured players seems to be a lack of any target date for their return.

Outfielder Jody Gerut made progress Friday taking batting practice for the first time since going on the disabled list, but remains unsure of when he’ll return from a bruised right heel. Likewise, a pair of Brewers relievers have no clear idea of when they’ll be back.

Veteran right-hander LaTroy Hawkins, who has been on the DL since May 9, is one of those two.

“I just do what [trainer] Roger [Caplinger] tells me,” Hawkins said. “If Roger tells me I can throw off the mound, I’ll throw off the mound. I’m out there though at 150 feet. I think I even got out to 170 feet yesterday, with no pain today.

“I’m just taking my time, but I should be close, because I’m getting out there pretty far.”

Hawkins’ fellow reliever, right-hander Marco Estrada, has been on the DL since June 4 with right shoulder fatigue, retroactive to June 1.

Though he was eligible to return on June 15, Estrada remains very limited in what he is able to do.

“It’s better, I had a cortisone shot a couple days ago,” Estrada said of his shoulder. “The pain’s still kind of there, but it is getting better. I can’t do anything. I have to wait until the doctor says I can start doing stronger work outs.

“Then hopefully I can play some catch, but I really couldn’t even tell you when that will be. I’d like to be back tomorrow, or at least play catch tomorrow, but who knows.”

Worth noting

Legendary broadcaster Bob Uecker was at Miller Park again on Saturday. When asked before the game what the time frame for his return was, Uecker admitted that he was unsure. … Since beginning the season 4-14, the Brewers have gone 11-5 at home, including a 4-1 record in series play. … Milwaukee currently is enjoying a season-high five-game winning streak. … With 13 and 11 hit by pitches, Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder, respectively, are first and second in the Majors. Weeks moved ahead of Fielder with two on Friday.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs

Brew Crew runs streak to five thanks to rookie

June 25, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — It was a dream come true for Jonathan Lucroy.

After belting his first career home run with a three-run shot in the fourth and a subsequent curtain call, the Brewers rookie catcher will never forget Friday night’s 8-3 victory against Seattle.

Entering the series opener against the Mariners, Lucroy had just one extra-base hit and zero RBIs in his Major League career. Following his performance Friday, he now has three of each.

“It was amazing,” Lucroy said of the curtain call. “I don’t know what happened, but somebody kind of pushed me up there. It was all kind of a blur after I crossed home plate.

“As soon as I did it, [Carlos Gomez] hit a home run and I was like, ‘Man, that’s what I’m talking about.’ I wanted to beat that team tonight.”

Lucroy’s home run to the Brewers bullpen in left-center came on a 1-2 fastball from Mariners lefty Ryan Rowland-Smith.

Two pitches later, Rowland-Smith (1-7) missed with a 1-0 changeup, which Gomez belted to left to put the Brewers on top, 4-3, in the fourth.

“The first time, I was just trying to get it up and in and I left it out over the plate,” Rowland-Smith said. “Gomez I think was sitting [changeup], and I threw a changeup for a strike. That’s two pitches that really cost me, obviously.”

Lucroy and Gomez quickly turned around a game that looked like it was headed for a Brewers loss, and right-handed starter Dave Bush. Over six innings, Bush (3-5) allowed three runs — two earned — on seven hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

Once he had the lead, Bush faced just 10 batters over the final three innings of his outing, giving up a pair of singles.

Both times, however, the Mariners who hit safely were thrown out.

First, leading off the fourth, shortstop Jack Wilson was thrown out by left fielder Ryan Braun as he looked to stretch a single into a double. An inning later, Bush got Franklin Gutierrez to bounce a ball to third baseman Casey McGehee, who threw out Chone Figgins as he tried to score from third.

While there was only one out in the inning, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu felt it was a crucial opportunity for the club to score a run.

“You try to force that fourth run across,” Wakamatsu said. “We haven’t done a very good job of scoring runners, so you take your opportunity there. The thing we talk about is just not hitting the ground ball to third base anytime you’ve got a runner on third base, and we did it.”

Following that out, Bush retired the final four batters he faced, putting himself in line to grab his third win of the season and his second straight.

For Bush, who was pitching on nine days’ rest instead of his usual four, the key was overcoming some early struggles that could be attributed to the long layoff.

“I was a little bit rusty in the first couple innings, I was just trying to find a rhythm,” Bush said. “After that I settled in and I was able to get my fastball back down. In the first couple innings I was up in the zone a lot.

“It was a bit of a challenge to have that much time off, but that’s what I’m faced with right now, so I’ve got to be ready for it and do the best I can.”

Bush’s start was the ninth quality start by a Brewers starter in the club’s last 13 games. Over that stretch, Milwaukee has a 3.02 ERA, giving up 28 earned runs over 83 1/3 innings pitched.

Brewers starters have gone 7-4 during that stretch while the club has posted an 8-5 mark, including a current season-high five-game winning streak.

“It’s been good for everyone,” Bush said. “Overall, we’ve played a lot better lately. … We’ve just been playing better baseball all around. We’ve hit better, we’ve pitched better, we’ve played better defense.

“It lightens the mood all the way around inside here. Guys are more excited about being here, because we’re playing better. We’re playing closer to our potential.”

Even with the winning streak, the story of the night was the performance by Lucroy.

After the home run in the fourth, Lucroy added a walk, a double and a run scored in his final two at-bats, to finish 2-for-3 on the night with a homer, double and three RBIs.

“It’ll be something I’ll always remember,” Lucroy said. “It’s something you work for your whole life. For me, it was since I was 12, being a catcher.

“For something like that to happen in a situation like that, I think for me it’s pretty euphoric and unbelievable.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers beat 6/25

June 25, 2010 Comments off

Zduriencik returns to Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE — For the first time since leaving to become general manager of the Seattle Mariners, former Brewers director of scouting Jack Zduriencik returned to Miller Park on Friday for the clubs’ Interleague series.

“It’s great walking back in here,” Zduriencik said. “It’s nice to see these guys doing so well. All the guys are great. We came in from the right-field line and a lot of the guys came over and said hello.

“It’s good to see so many of them doing so well.”

Zduriencik, who joined the organization in 1999, has been credited by many for putting together the talented young core that the Brewers have been built around for several years.

During his time in Milwaukee, Zduriencik was the first non-general manager to receive the Major League Executive of the Year Award from Baseball America in 2007.

Some notable selections during Zduriencik’s time with the Brewers include Corey Hart in 2000, Manny Parra in ’01, Prince Fielder in ’02, Rickie Weeks in ’03, Yovani Gallardo in ’04, Ryan Braun in ’05 and Jonathan Lucroy in ’07.

Since leaving the Brewers, however, Zduriencik has not enjoyed as much success in Seattle as he, or anyone else in the organization would have liked. In particular the club’s offense has struggled quite a bit

Of late, though, the team has been on a hot streak, winning six of its last seven.

“We’ve played well lately, unfortunately the club ahead of us has played a little bit better,” Zduriencik said. “[The Rangers] have won 11 in a row. We play good and we lose ground. So we’ll see what happens, though … there’s a lot of season to be played.”

While he’ll finally get to see his former club in person this weekend, Zduriencik said he keeps up on the Brewers quite a bit along with his duties as the Seattle general manager.

Zduriencik also said he hoped to face the Brewers again after this weekend.

“I watch the Brewers all the time,” Zduriencik said. “I told all these guys out here today that I’m proud of what they’ve done. I pull for them all the time. I’d love for them to win this division and go on.

“It would be a dream come true to be able to play this club in the World Series.”

Davis takes next step toward return

MILWAUKEE — While lefty Doug Davis made his second of two planned rehab starts on Thursday, the Brewers do not plan to make a decision on his next step until Saturday.

Pitching in his second rehab start for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, Davis quieted the Memphis Redbirds over an impressive five-inning outing. Davis threw 82 pitches, giving up just two hits and one walk while striking out nine batters.

“Everything went well,” Davis said. “I don’t know what their plan for me is yet. All I know is, I’m ready, so it’s up to them now when they’re ready for me.”

Manager Ken Macha said that he planned to meet with pitching coach Rick Peterson, bullpen coach Stan Kyles and general manager Doug Melvin on Saturday to discuss the future of the pitching staff and in particular, their plan for Davis.

“We’re going to have a huge summit tomorrow,” Macha said. “Rick, Stan Kyles, myself and Doug will sit down and probably talk for five minutes. So it’ll be a huge summit. It’ll be along the lines of the Russian president and Obama, the meeting they just had.

“We’ll try to figure it out, it’s nice that he’s healthy and he threw the ball well last night.”

Macha added that he had his own idea for what might happen, but was unsure whether it would be the consensus opinion.

Additionally, he noted one part of the plan that he knew for certain.

“He pitched the same day that [Yovani Gallardo] pitched,” Macha said. “So I don’t think he’s going to pitch on Yo’s day.”

Gerut takes batting practice

MILWAUKEE — Nearly a month after going on the disabled list with a bruised right heel, outfielder Jody Gerut took batting practice on Friday for the first time since the injury.

Gerut, who went on the disabled list on June 7 — retroactive to May 27 — said everything felt fine in his first session at the plate in more a month.

“I’m finally making some improvements, I’d say I’m probably about halfway there,” Gerut said. “It was nice to be back on the field again and break a sweat.”

Despite the positives that came out of his session, Gerut remained unsure of when he would be able to return to the active roster.

“I really don’t know, I wish I could be more specific, but I can’t do it,” Gerut said. “It’s been a month and they were targeting two to three days. So with that wide of a range, how could I possibly put a date on it in the future?”

Brewers manager Ken Macha said that he too was unsure whether Gerut would return anytime soon, but seemed to think it would be later rather than sooner.

“I can’t tell you where he is,” Macha said. “I’m sure he’s going to have to go play some games. He’s going to have to run, too. I’d say he’s a while yet, but we’re all happy that he at least he took some BP today.”

After sitting for more than a month, Gerut certainly is eager to get back to game action.

“I’m bored, I find this whole thing uninteresting,” Gerut said. “I’m not having fun not playing. I’d rather be playing.”

Braun dines with fans at new restaurant

LAKE GENEVA — As Ryan Braun opened his second restaurant on Thursday, he was greeted by a huge crowd of fans who had traveled near and far to meet the left fielder.

One family drove more than 10 hours from their Michigan home to meet Braun. The reception was a bit of a shock for Braun.

“This is far more people than I expected to see come out here tonight,” Braun said. “I was expecting more of a low key, quiet, private gathering. But it’s great, I’m really impressed.”

Ryan Braun’s Tavern and Grill, located at 430 Broad Street in Lake Geneva, Wis., saw an impressive turnout as it opened its doors for the first time.

According to Tom Romano, who owns the restaurant along with Braun, the restaurant seated an estimated 400 customers, while an additional estimated 600 patrons were in attendance to see Braun throughout the night.

After arriving just after 7:30 p.m., Braun finally managed to get a bite to eat around 9 p.m. It was the first time Braun had tried anything on the menu, and the budding restaurateur was impressed once again.

“It was great, I got to take some time and try a few different appetizers and desserts along with my meal,” Braun said. “I had the filet, and everything I had was just great. Our chef does an excellent job.”

Braun, who said he used to get down to Lake Geneva on every Brewers off-day, expects to make more trips down to the city now that his restaurant has opened.

Though much of his night was filled with almost constant requests for autographs and photographs, Braun said one of the best parts of the night was getting to meet his fans.

“It’s awesome, the community here in Lake Geneva is great,” Braun said. “I’ve been here a lot, but I’ve never really met many of the people who live in the area. They’ve all been very nice and given a lot of feedback, both about the Brewers and the restaurant.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.