Ryan Braun unconcerned with hitless spring start

PHOENIX -- Ryan Braun struck out and fouled out in his second Spring Training game on Tuesday and figures he has better days ahead of him.

"I can only head in one direction from here," Braun quipped after exiting the Brewers-A's game at Maryvale Baseball Park.

Braun struck out in both trips to the plate against the Giants on Sunday, then whiffed again against A's left-hander Tom Milone on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. He snapped his strikeout streak in the fourth inning with a foul pop to the first baseman.

It's too early to call it a spring slump.

"The overwhelming odds," Braun said with a smile, "are that I'm going to put one in fair territory one of these days." That's probably true, considering he's the reigning National League MVP. Braun made offseason headlines by successfully appealing a drug suspension but said that issue did not impact his usual array of winter workouts and hitting. His quiet start is atypical; Braun usually needs only a handful of Spring Training at-bats to feel ready for Opening Day.

He is on an every-other-day spring schedule for now and will be off Wednesday when the Brewers go to Glendale, Ariz., to face the White Sox. Braun will go for that first Cactus League hit on Thursday against Mike Leake and the Reds.

Later in camp, Braun will play more regularly. He's aiming for 30-40 Arizona at-bats, but the plan could change based on feel.

"The timing and rhythm are starting to come," Braun said. "The goal is just to see different pitches, see different pitchers and try to see the ball."

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