It has been three whole weeks since Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun made a plea of innocence in front of an independent arbitrator in New York City, and yet no decision has been made about the NL MVP’s status for the start of the 2012 regular season.
Braun, who tested positive for “insane” levels of synthetic testosterone around the beginning of the 2011 playoffs and is thus facing a 50-game suspension, could be kept waiting a bit longer.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the arbitrator tasked with making the decision in Braun’s PED case is not being held to the usual 25-day deadline. So the review of Braun’s appeal will go on as long as it has to, with no guarantee that things will be wrapped up by the opening of spring camp.
Pitchers and catchers report on February 18 and the Brewers’ first full-squad workout is on February 25.
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal has not had a good postseason. Entering Monday night’s NLCS Game 3, he was batting .111/.238/.278 in 21 trips to the plate across the NLDS and the first two games of the NLCS.
Defense has also been an issue for Grandal. In Game 1 of the NLCS, Grandal was on the hook for two passed balls. In the sixth inning of Game 3 Monday night, he couldn’t corral a curve in the dirt, which allowed Travis Shaw to score the Brewers’ second run of the night. Starter Walker Buehler was charged with a wild pitch. In the eighth, with Ryan Braun on first base and Shaw at the plate, Grandal again couldn’t corral a pitch in the dirt, allowing Braun to move to second base. Fortunately for the Dodgers, Alex Wood was able to escape the inning with no damage.
Manager Dave Roberts said that Austin Barnes, not Grandal, will start behind the plate for Game 4 on Tuesday night, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. That comes as no surprise at all. When Grandal struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Dodger fans regaled him with boos.
Barnes will be an upgrade defensively, but he’s lacking with the bat. He had an 0-for-3 performance in Game 2, though with an RBI, bringing his career slash line in the playoffs to .200/.281/.300 across 57 plate appearances. During the regular season, his career 100 adjusted OPS is a fair bit behind Grandal’s 115. Roberts is trading offense for defense in Game 4. Rich Hill will get the start opposite the Brewers’ Gio González.