Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has back procedure, expected back full strength for spring

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MILWAUKEE — Right fielder Ryan Braun is recovering after undergoing a surgical procedure on his back but is expected to be at full strength when the Milwaukee Brewers begin spring training in February.

General manager David Stearns said the 31-year-old Braun was feeling as good as possible after having the surgery shortly after the season. The Brewers hope the procedure eliminates the pain that caused Braun to miss 14 of the last 18 games of the season.

"It was successful," Stearns said Thursday night during a town hall meeting with season ticket holders at Miller Park. "He's feeling as well as he can and we're looking forward to him having a healthy year."

The team said Braun needs three to four weeks to recover before beginning his offseason routine.

Braun bounced back this season after a disappointing 2014, hitting .285 with 25 homers and 84 RBIs, along with 24 stolen bases.

Braun's surgery was the only major medical update on Milwaukee's roster. The Brewers are entering a transitional phase under Stearns, hired last month to replace Doug Melvin.

A flurry of midseason trades stocked the minor league system but depleted the talent at the major league level. As a result, 12 players made major league debuts for the Brewers.

Braun is one of just a few veteran players on the roster, but entering the first season of a five-year, $105 million extension signed in 2011. He likely isn't going anywhere.

The rest of the roster could be significantly different when the Brewers open the season April 4 against the Giants. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy and closer Francisco Rodriguez are among the veterans who could be moved.

"There are a wide variety of discussions that take place this time of year," Stearns said. "We're certainly open to ideas other teams have but we're not going out there saying 'We have to trade this player.'

"We're an open-minded front office, just like everyone else this time of the year," Stearns said.

The team also hopes to soon announce additions to manager Craig Counsell's staff. The Brewers cut ties with five of seven coaches who were holdovers from the staff of previous manager Ron Roenicke, keeping only third base coach Ed Sedar and hitting coach Darnell Coles.

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