MILWAUKEE -- Third baseman Aramis Ramirez, still nursing a sore left knee, took a symbolic step forward on Tuesday by taking batting practice on the field at Miller Park.
"He said he was going to take a couple of rounds and he feels good [after] he hit in the cage," manager Ron Roenicke said. "That's important for him to get out here doing that."
Ramirez's return is not imminent. He still needs to pass a series of tests on the basepaths, which could be staged during the Brewers' upcoming road trip to Colorado and Chicago. He has been bothered by the knee since he first sprained it on a slide into second base early in Spring Training.
If Ramirez continues to progress, Roenicke will approach him at some point about a Minor League rehab assignment. When he was on the disabled list earlier this season, Ramirez exercised his right to decline such an assignment, but never rediscovered his power stroke.
"By the end of the road trip, I hope he's doing enough things that we have a chance to get him [playing]," Roenicke said. "I don't know how fast it's going to come along once he's running. He's got to get that first step on defense, also."
Roenicke would like more answers from Braun
MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun's corner locker at Miller Park was still full of baseball gear and uniforms on Tuesday, but the player remained absent on the first full day of his season-ending suspension, leaving teammates and manager Ron Roenicke to face a barrage of questions to which they had no answers.
Braun never said what he was being suspended for. Instead, he spoke in a clubhouse meeting on Monday in vague terms, similar to the statement released later by Major League Baseball, acknowledging "mistakes" and accepting a suspension for the Brewers' final 65 games. Roenicke said he had forgiven Braun, and hoped the players would, too, but added that he'd like more detailed answers, assuming Braun's agreement with Major League Baseball and the Players Association -- not to mention possible legal ramifications -- allow it.
"You guys know me, I always think it's better to just come out and say what's going on," Roenicke said. "There's times that I can't, and when I can't, I usually tell you guys, 'Hey, that's something I can't talk about.' And I don't know how much he can talk about. I don't know the agreement between the [Players] Association, Major League Baseball and himself on what he can say. I would think there's parameters put in place with what he can say regarding this, how much he can explain things.
"Knowing that, maybe he just can't do it."
Of the many unknowns, Roenicke said, "I wish we all knew what was going on. I doubt we ever will. I doubt that I'll ever know what this is all about."
Representatives from Braun's agency, CAA Sports, did not respond to calls for comment on Tuesday. Braun's home is in Los Angeles, but if he chooses to remain in Milwaukee, he would be allowed to work out at Miller Park, an MLB spokesperson confirmed, provided he leaves the field before the gates open prior to a game.
On Tuesday, for the second straight day, Brewers' uniformed personnel were left in the awkward position of answering for Braun in his absence.
"I really don't know enough about it to have a personal, emotional feeling towards it," said Logan Schafer, who takes over as the Brewers' primary left fielder. "I'm kind of sitting around waiting and seeing what happens with it. … I'm sure everyone in this room eventually will know exactly what happened, but until then, it doesn't really matter what we think or what opinions we're making or how he's being killed in the media. What are they killing him for? He just accepted a suspension and nobody knows what it's for."
Roenicke hopes that changes.
"If Major League Baseball allows it, you would hope that some of these things would be clarified from [Braun], that he would be able to give you guys answers instead of us having to do it," Roenicke said. "I think any time players are asked something they are uncomfortable [answering], it's difficult. These questions are difficult for me, and you guys ask me questions all the time. A player who is not used to answering anything other than the game and what they had done, it becomes a difficult situation."
Does Roenicke worry about how his teammates will accept Braun next spring?
"I'm hoping that he's accepted as a player that would be gone for an injury all year," Roenicke said. "Obviously, this is a different situation than an injury. There's a lot more meaning to it, and what happened and how it affects these guys and baseball. Knowing that, these guys are pretty forgiving of their teammates. Staff is pretty forgiving of players. That's our job. Our job is to take whatever 25 men we have here and to try to help them in any way we can."
Roenicke watched a few minutes of the coverage of Braun's suspension on national news networks Monday night, then turned it off. It was difficult to watch for a man whose job, by definition, is to manage situations. This is a situation out of his control.
"I like Ryan Braun," Roenicke said. "He's a very engaging young man. I have a lot of great conversations with him, as I do with a lot of these young players. So any time something happens with one of our guys, I feel it."
Roles change due to Braun's suspension
MILWAUKEE -- Logan Schafer will see the bulk of time in left field and shortstop Jean Segura figures to be the reluctant three-hole hitter as the Brewers move forward in the wake of Ryan Braun's season-ending suspension.
Schafer hit second and Segura third for Tuesday's 6-2 loss against the Padres. Schafer went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and Segura 0-for-4 with a strikeout, as the Brewers managed only four hits on the night.
"I know Segura doesn't want to hit third every day," said manager Ron Roenicke, who didn't specify why Segura felt that way. "He told me he's fine with doing it once in a while. He may be hitting third every day. He's handled it well. I like what it does with the lineup. If Schafer is second, I like where it puts [catcher Jonathan] Lucroy fourth and [center fielder Carlos Gomez] fifth. Then it depends on who's hot after that and whether Schafer stays hot in that second spot."
Schafer is the most seasoned of the Brewers' unproven options for left field, and entering Tuesday, was a .230 hitter this season with two home runs, 18 RBIs and four stolen bases in 84 games. Tuesday marked his 44th start.
The Brewers promoted Triple-A Nashville left fielder Khris Davis on Tuesday to take Braun's spot on the roster, and he hit his first career home run in the eighth inning. They also have Caleb Gindl, who can play all three outfield positions, and Sean Halton, who primarily plays first base but can also man left field.
"I feel like I've been a pretty decent part of this team this year, and I've done some things to help win some ballgames," said Schafer, who had already been filling in for Braun during his month-long stint on the disabled list for a hand injury. "Obviously my stats aren't where I want them to be, but I feel like I've been playing pretty good baseball."
Of losing Braun, Schafer said, "It's a big hit to the team, but we have a lot of guys in here who can pick up the slack. We're more than able to hold our own."
• Braun's former teammate Prince Fielder said on Tuesday he had no ill will toward Braun after learning about the suspension.
"I'm not a judge. I don't judge," Fielder said. "It's something he has to go through. It's something that's his business."
Fielder added: "We want to keep the game clean. It's a weird situation. It's unfortunate, but it seems like the tests are working and it's getting handled."
• In the same clubhouse as Fielder, Tigers right-hander and American League All-Star Game starter Max Scherzer offered a scathing criticism of Braun, saying, "I'm glad he got caught."
"For me, it's just not long enough," Scherzer said of Braun's season-long ban. "The Brewers are unlikely to make the playoffs. He misses 2013, and they're set for 2014. For somebody who cheated the game as badly as he did, it just doesn't seem right in my book."
When asked if Braun should be stripped of his 2011 National League MVP Award, Scherzer said, "Obviously we need to get more clarification from MLB and everything, but if we can assume the timeline right, I think it would be appropriate."