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MLB notebook: Braun working to make up to fans

Associated Press

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Suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun is personally calling fans and offering an apology for using performance-enhancing drugs.

Wes Aldridge, 58, of Muskego, got a call at his office, a phone number he had provided to the Brewers as a season ticket holder. Aldridge was skeptical when the caller said he was Ryan Braun.

“I looked around at the other phones in the office to see who was messing with me,” he said Friday.

Aldridge said he didn’t waste any time getting to the question on the mind of many Brewers’ fans. Why would he take a banned substance?

“The only thing he said was he had a friend that gave him the item and he didn’t think it would do any harm at that time,” Aldridge said.

On July 22, Braun agreed to a 65-game suspension resulting from Major League Baseball’s investigation of the now-closed

Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic was accused of providing banned substances to players. Braun admitted he took a cream and a lozenge containing banned substances while rehabilitating an injury during his 2011 National League MVP season.

The calls started Thursday.

“It was his idea,” said Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers’ chief operating officer. “He came to us and said he wanted to call fans,” including season ticket holders, partial season ticket holders and individual buyers.

The Brewers turned over a list of several dozen random names, Schlesinger said.

“He said he wanted to call everybody on the list,” Schlesinger added.

After Braun started making calls, the Brewers began to hear from some of the fans he called, according to Tyler Barnes, the Brewers vice president of communications.

“They were appreciative of the outreach. The vast majority were appreciative of it. We think it’s a nice gesture on Ryan’s part. We realize some are going to be grateful and others are going to be a little more hesitant,” Barnes said.

Aldridge said he got the impression Braun felt bad about what had happened. He said Braun apologized and said he made a mistake.

Westbrook back with Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals activated pitcher Jake Westbrook from the 15-day disabled list. Westbrook, 35, went on the DL on Aug. 22 because of a lower back strain, and rejoined the roster Friday for a three-game series against NL Central-leading Pittsburgh.

Around the leagues

New York Mets left-hander Scott Rice, who leads the majors with 73 appearances, will have sports hernia surgery next week and miss the remainder of the season. Rice, 31, finally reached the majors this season after spending 14 years in the minor leagues. He’s 4-5 with a 3.71 ERA and has held left-handed batters to a .174 average. The Colorado Rockies activated pitchers Roy Oswalt and Drew Pomeranz from the 15-day disabled list. Oswalt had been sidelined by a strained left hamstring. The veteran right-hander signed a minor-league deal with Colorado in May and is 0-4 with a 7.64 ERA in four starts with the Rockies. Pomeranz, who was originally signed by the Indians, had been out with left biceps tendinitis. The lefty is 0-4.


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