CINCINNATI — Ryan Braun's acknowledgement that he used performance-enhancing drugs was welcomed in the Milwaukee Brewers' clubhouse, where players hope it helps to heal some of the pain caused by his actions and a resulting 65-game suspension.
"I thought it was a good first step on the road to redemption, I guess you could say," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said Friday before the start of a series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Braun released a statement Thursday night acknowledging for the first time that he used a cream and a lozenge containing banned substances while recovering from an injury in 2011, when he won the National League's MVP award.
Several Brewers, including Lucroy, have stayed in touch with Braun by phone since he agreed to Major League Baseball's suspension on July 22. Lucroy expects Braun to have a news conference at some point to answer questions.
For now, the statement sufficed.
"It certainly was enough for me," manager Ron Roenicke said. "I think it's enough for his teammates. He's made some calls to his teammates.
"I think no matter what he says, there's going to be some negative from a lot of people still: `He didn't say enough (or) he didn't explain himself enough.' I think he did. And I also think there are some things he probably still can't say. As I read into how he said it, I think there are some things that probably he can't bring up. That's OK with me."
Reliever John Axford said the statement should bring some closure.
"Knowing Ryan and understanding Ryan, I'm going to be able to move forward and I hope other people will be able too," Axford said.
Braun's statement didn't provide any detail about exactly what substances he used or who provided them. Roenicke said Braun's probably limited in what he can say for now because of the legal ramifications.
His suspension resulted from Major League Baseball's investigation of Biogenesis of America, a clinic that was accused of providing banned substances to major leaguers. The clinic is now closed.
Braun took full responsibility in his statement and apologized to numerous people.
Lucroy said Braun will be welcomed back quicker by his teammates than he will be by others outside the team, even though he had misled his teammates as well.
"I don't think it's going to be that difficult in here," Lucroy said. "I think the outside, of course, is going to be harder to deal with. Within the clubhouse, I don't think so. If he comes back and is a good teammate and performs and contributes to the team winning, I don't see why he won't be welcomed back with open arms.
"I'm sure he will because he's very talented."
Axford said he's already moved beyond the matter.
"You can be upset, you can be angry, but in the clubhouse here we're close," Axford said. "We're friends. We're family. And you have to have faith and belief and trust in your family.
"If you want to move past it, you have to be able to forgive, and that's where I'm at," Axford added. "I'm in the position where I want to be able to forgive and move past this and talk to Ryan like our friends and family."
Roenicke agreed that Braun will have a tougher time being forgiven by those outside the club.
"This is a nice man," Roenicke said, sitting on the bench in the visitors' dugout at Great American Ball Park during batting practice. "He is. This is a nice young man that messed up. That's what it is.
"And he's got a long road ahead of him. I'm sure he'll be yelled at at all of the stadiums he'll go to next year," Roenicke added. "He's going to have things continually written about him. But it's a first step, I think, in trying to get through this, probably trying to heal up some relationships, whether it's the fans, whether it's his good friends, whether it's his teammates.
"I think this is a nice step toward that," he said.
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