Braun expected to return for Brewers' next game

Braun expected to return for Brewers' next game

PHOENIX -- Last Call is a spot for all the notes and anecdotes from Brewers camp that didn't find a home elsewhere on the site. Today: On the road to good health.

Ryan Braun remained absent Saturday because of an illness, but the Brewers hope to get him back in the lineup for split-squad action on Sunday. Even better, according to manager Ron Roenicke, was the fact that there were no new cases of pink eye reported.

"I think we're clean," Roenicke said.

He paused a moment, then reached for the pump of hand sanitizer that sits on his desk, just in case.

• The announced crowd for Saturday's Cubs-Brewers game was 10,142, the fourth-largest gathering in Maryvale Baseball Park history.

Lohse named Opening Day starter

• Kyle Lohse said he would rely on experience when he takes the ball for the Brewers on Opening Day. He's started two previous season openers, in 2008 when the Cardinals' regularly-scheduled opener was rained out after three innings, and in 2012.

"There's a lot of stuff going on if you allow yourself to get a little distracted," Lohse said. "But once you get out there, it's the same routine, same everything. Nothing changes. It can be a lot of fun, but it's just another game."

• Lohse starts Sunday at Maryvale Baseball Park, and should be the first pitcher to take an at-bat in a Cactus League game. The Brewers won't use a designated hitter in that game for the first time this spring.

• Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins was on hand signing autographs, and drew a visit before the stadium gates opened from Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. Both men hail from Chatham, Ontario -- just over the U.S.-Canadian border from Detroit.

Just this week, the Chatham-Kent Municipal Council passed a staff recommendation to add Melvin's name alongside Jenkins' on road signs entering the municipality. Both men are enshrined in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

• Also in the crowd at Maryvale Baseball Park on Saturday was "Rally Lou" Montgomery, who gained some fame late last season when his return to work at Miller Park coincided with a Brewers mini-surge. Montgomery, who turns 93 this year and has been wed to his wife for 68 years, has been ushering at Brewers games since 1987. He plans to be at work as usual on Opening Day.

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.