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Brewers News Briefs: Braun held out of yesterday's game

"WI Sports" brewers cardinals

MILWAUKEE - Ryan Braun did not start yesterday's Milwaukee Brewers home contest against Oakland. Manager Ron Roenicke said it was because the slugger's right thumb keeps bothering him - and it's not because of reports that Braun is about to get a possible 50-to-100-game suspension over allegations that he bought performance-enhancing drugs.

Roenicke said he has no access to the information that Major League Baseball has on Braun. Roenicke claims he didn't know why the matter came up last night. ESPN said the former director of the Bio-genesis Clinic, Tony Bosch, is about to tell all he knows to baseball investigators in exchange for escaping a lawsuit against him and possible criminal charges. Roenicke insists that the Braun situation quote, "isn't talked about" among the Brewers - and as far as he knows quote, "There's nothing here that's a distraction."

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The Major League players' union says it's too early for anyone to judge what happened in the alleged sale of performance-enhancing drugs by former Miami clinic founder Tony Bosch. The union said it's been in contact with the Commissioner's Office about the matter. Yesterday, ESPN said the number of players facing possible punishment has increased from 20 to possibly 100. The cable network says the suspensions could be handed down within two weeks. Union director Michael Weiner says no decisions have been made regarding discipline - and none will be made until baseball officials complete all of their interviews in the case.

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Ryan Braun can apparently thank Alex Rodriguez for the pickle that both are in. The New York Daily News reports that Bio-genesis clinic founder Tony Bosch decided to tell-all to Major League Baseball investigators, after Rodriguez refused to give Bosch financial help. The paper said Bosch needed money to defend himself in a civil suit filed by baseball - and when he asked A-Rod for financial help, the Yankees' star said no. Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers' All-Star slugger, is among the players facing suspensions of up to 100 games for allegedly arranging to get performance-enhancing drugs from Bosch and the former Bio-genesis clinic in Miami. ESPN reported Tuesday that Bosch decided to tell baseball investigators all he knows - in exchange for being cleared from baseball's civil suit. The investigators have reportedly been interviewing players and their attorneys for three weeks. The AP says the player interviews will continue through June, and then Bosch and his staff will be interviewed before a decision is made on punishments. Both Braun and Bosch claim that they only had a consulting relationship, when Braun was appealing his drug suspension handed down in 2011 and reversed 15 months ago.

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The Oakland A's scored five runs in the seventh inning yesterday to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1 at Miller Park. Oakland starter Bartolo Colon is mentioned in the Bosch investigation, too - and he threw a gem against the Brewers, giving up just one run in seven innings. The 40-year-old Colon scattered eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts, as he won his fourth consecutive start. Colon has given up just three earned runs in his last 30 innings, and is now 7-2. Yovani Gallardo pitched well until the wheels fell off in the seventh. He surrendered five runs in six-plus innings on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts. It was Gallardo's best start in a while, but he's still 1-6 in his last seven decisions, and he dropped to 4-6 on the year. Brandon Moss highlighted Oakland's seventh-inning rally with a three-run homer - the 12,000th in Oakland's colorful history. Carlos Gomez provided Milwaukee's only offense with an RBI-triple in the first. The Crew was just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Oakland took the series, two games to one. Milwaukee has dropped three of its last six, and will open a home series against Philadelphia tonight. Right-hander Wily Peralta will face Phillies' right-hander Tyler Cloyd.

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Brewers' starter Marco Estrada was put on the 15-day disabled list yesterday, after he strained his left hamstring in Monday night's home loss to Oakland. Right-hander Tyler Thornburg was called up from Triple-"A" Nashville - but Brewers' manager Ron Roenicke says he's still not sure who he'll start in Estrada's place on Saturday against Philadelphia. Thornburg pitched two innings of scoreless relief yesterday in Milwaukee's 6-to-1 home loss to Oakland. He has not pitched well in Triple-"A," with an 0-7 record in 12 starts for Nashville with a 6.75 ERA. Last year, Thornburg made three starts and five relief appearances for Milwaukee, with no record and an ERA of 4.50.

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The Major League Baseball draft begins tonight - and the Milwaukee Brewers expect to wait for three-and-a-half hours before they finally get to make a pick. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the Brewers were forced to give up their first-round selection - the 17th overall - when they signed veteran free agent pitcher Kyle Lohse. As a result, Milwaukee only has two picks in the first three rounds tonight - the 54th and 72nd choices overall. Scouting director Bruce Seid says he knows who probably won't be available by the time the Brewers finally go on-the-clock. Still, he believes his staff can round up some good players, judging by where today's stars were originally drafted way-back-when. Brewers' starter Yovani Gallardo was not drafted in the first round - and neither was Jonathan Lucroy or Logan Schafer. The new union agreement assigns a certain amount of bonus money for each time to sign their draft picks. The 54th pick, Milwaukee's first tonight, has an assigned worth of just over-a-million dollars. The 72nd pick in the third round has value of $771,000. Milwaukee's total bonus pool is almost $3,950,000. The draft has 50 rounds, and will end on Saturday.

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The Philadelphia Phillies can go above .500 for the first time this season, with a victory in Milwaukee tonight. The Brewers are opening a four-game series against the Phils, after the Crew lost 2-of-3 to Oakland this week. Philadelphia dropped 2-of-3 to the Brewers last weekend in eastern Pennsylvania - and then they swept Miami for three games. The Phils out-scored the Marlins 20-6, as they've built up a four-game winning streak. Domonic Brown continues to have the hot bat for Philly. He's batting .381 in his last 16 games with 11 homers and 24 RBI's, and he leads the National League with 18 homers for the season. Ryan Braun expects to return to the Milwaukee lineup tonight. He sat out yesterday's home loss to Oakland with lingering pain to his right thumb, at a time when national reporters were combing Miller Park for nuggets about Braun's possible 50-to-100-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. Braun has a .377 career batting average against Philadelphia, the highest of any National League opponent. Right-hander Wily Peralta will start for the Crew tonight against Phils' right-hander Tyler Cloyd.

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