Braun fans twice as he puts winter behind him

Braun fans twice as he puts winter behind him

Braun fans twice as he puts winter behind him
PHOENIX -- Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun struck out twice in his 2012 debut, a 1-1 tie with the Giants at Maryvale Baseball Park on Sunday.

Braun drew a mixed reaction from 6,619 fans at the Brewers' spring home, many of whom stood and cheered the National League MVP who spent his winter mounting a successful appeal of a drug suspension. Many on hand jeered Braun, a prelude to the type of reaction he could receive when the Brewers take the road.

"It's certainly going to be an adjustment, but overall it is not something that really factors into my thought process or preparations too much," Braun said.

Braun struck out swinging against Giants starter Madison Bumgarner to end the first inning and was called out on strikes against Shane Loux leading off the fourth. The Brewers slugger said he'll need some time to get his timing down.

Still, it was "fun," Braun said, to get back to baseball after his long winter.

"Yeah, it was great," he said. "I think for all of us as a team, you look forward to games starting. It's a little more adrenaline, little more excitement and enthusiasm. So, it was fun."

Brewers starters Randy Wolf and Zack Greinke piggybacked and threw two scoreless innings apiece, with Wolf retiring all six hitters he faced.

Greinke had to work a bit harder, allowing three hits. But he mixed in four cut fastballs, a pitch he's been working on this spring, and was pleased with three of them. Greinke called the pitch a work in progress.

He declined to talk about the fan reaction to Braun. Wolf said he barely noticed it.

"I heard more supporting cheers today than anything else, to tell you the truth," Wolf said. "Obviously, you're going to get that more when you're in Maryvale. A lot of people got away from the cold in Milwaukee and were enjoying the nice weather."

Brewers closer John Axford allowed a run on three hits in his debut, and fellow relievers Kameron Loe and Marco Estrada each worked a scoreless, hitless inning as the teams took a 1-1 tie into the late innings.

The Brewers played without two regulars who were scratched from the starting lineup about 15 minutes before Wolf's first pitch. Right fielder Corey Hart needs arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and will miss 3-4 weeks, and second baseman Rickie Weeks sat with a stiff throwing shoulder.

Weeks' replacement in the leadoff role, center fielder Carlos Gomez, drove in a run with a third-inning single.

Up next: Monday's 8:35 p.m. CT tilt with the Giants will be the Brewers' 2012 debut on MLB.TV and is one of two night game's on Milwaukee's spring slate, and lefty Chris Narveson will be the starter. Right-hander Jose Veras, the key offseason addition to the Brewers' bullpen, is scheduled to make his unofficial debut. It'll be a day off for Braun, third baseman Aramis Ramirez and catcher Jonathan Lucroy.

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.