CINCINNATI -- Ryan Braun saved the baseball from his 1,000th hit, and someday will savor that milestone.Not yet. "During the season is not a time for reflection," Braun said. "I'm focused on a lot of other things right now, and to tell you the truth, I didn't even know I was close until a few days ago. It's definitely pretty cool, though. At some point when the season ends, I'll be able to look back and see that's a pretty cool accomplishment." Braun logged his 1,000th hit in his 815th game. Only three active Major Leaguers got to the milestone quicker: The Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki (696 games), the Yankees' Derek Jeter (780 games) and the Angels' Albert Pujols (806 games). Like Braun, the Phillies' Juan Pierre reached 1,000 hits in 815 games. According to Brewers blogger Kyle Lobner, who did extensive research on the subject, Braun was the fastest to the milestone in franchise history among players who collected each of their first 1,000 hits in a Brewers uniform. Paul Molitor got to 1,000 hits in 835 games, and Robin Yount in 948 games. "It puts in perspective how difficult it is, that not a lot of guys have done it," Braun said. Braun logged his milestone hit in his first game back from a right groin injury. He has been dealing with that issue since Spring Training, and re-aggravated it during Tuesday's win against the Cardinals. He figures the issue will nag all season. "I feel good," he said. "Whenever you have something during the year, you rarely, if ever, get back to 100 percent. Everybody in this clubhouse is dealing with something."
Brewers continue to mix and match at shortstop
CINCINNATI -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke would much prefer a regular shortstop to his current three-man rotation. On Saturday, it was rookie Jeff Bianchi's turn to try stepping up.Bianchi has shared shortstop duties since the All-Star break with veterans Cesar Izturis and Cody Ransom. The Brewers have been mixing and matching at that spot since Opening Day starter Alex Gonzalez was lost to a season-ending knee injury. "I think it's very hard to use three guys," Roenicke said. "Every night, I'm trying to figure out the matchups and who should be out there. That's difficult to do." He faced a similar conundrum early in the season in center field, where Norichika Aoki, Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan split time. Aoki was so good that he eventually became the regular right fielder, with Corey Hart moving semi-permanently to first base. Shortstop has proven more challenging. Bianchi's start on Saturday was the third of his brief Major League career. "This is what I've worked all my life to do," Bianchi said. "I'm just going about my daily routine the same, just like I've done my whole career. ... This is a different role, and I'm trying to pick guys' brains -- Izturis, [Travis] Ishikawa. They've all been up here for a while, and they've played every day and been off the bench. Right now, I'm up here to learn what it takes to stay here."
Brewers pitching not executing vs. Bruce
CINCINNATI -- The Brewers' trouble with Reds slugger Jay Bruce is a matter of poor execution, not poor planning, manager Ron Roenicke argued.Bruce entered Saturday night with more home runs (21) and RBIs (46) against the Brewers than any other team. He snapped an 0-for-19 slump on Friday night with a double, and then hit a home run off Brewers starter Marco Estrada. Bruce wasted no time adding to his RBI total against the Brewers on Saturday, knocking a run-scoring single against Yovani Gallardo in the first inning. "It's making pitches," Roenicke said. "We know what type of hitter he is, and we know you cannot make mistakes against him. ... We know where the percentages are in the strike zone where they don't hit .350 or above, but, if you don't hit those spots, now you have to throw a pitch [the hitter] is looking for -- a fastball -- and if you don't locate that well, they kill the ball." Why do the Brewers seem to make more mistakes against Bruce than anybody else? "I think because you try to be more careful," Roenicke said.
Right-hander Shaun Marcum made encouraging progress on Saturday in his most intense flat-ground session since injuring his elbow in a June 14 start at Kansas City. Marcum long-tossed under the watch of head athletic trainer Dan Wright before coming back to 60 feet and pitched with velocity.The tentative plan calls for one more such flat-ground catch before Marcum gets on a mound, perhaps during the Brewers' upcoming series at Philadelphia. He would then need to throw a series of bullpens followed by a Minor League rehabilitation assignment before the Brewers consider activating Marcum from the disabled list. Once he gets on the mound, Marcum could come quickly. He was bothered by a sore shoulder for much of Spring Training but started the regular season right on time. Still, "we're a ways away," manager Ron Roenicke said. Rehabbing catcher Jonathan Lucroy was scheduled to serve as Class A Wisconsin's designated hitter on Saturday and remains tentatively on track to rejoin the Brewers on Thursday, when they begin a home series against the Nationals. Lucroy will stay with Wisconsin through Sunday before traveling to Triple-A Nashville on Monday, an off-day for that team. He will try to play all nine innings with the Sounds on either Tuesday or Wednesday before returning to Milwaukee. That plan hinges on Lucroy having no setbacks with his surgically repaired right hand.