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    MILWAUKEE (AP) — Now 35 Dennis Eckersley Jersey , Ryan Braun is years past his dominant, MVP self. Yet the aging slugger is trying to set himself up to be a part of the Milwaukee Brewers‘ promising future.Specifically, Braun is doing something he’s never done: changing his swing. And to do that, he’s been using analytics.“Based on where my swing was at the beginning of the offseason, I’ve made some productive adjustments at least according to all of those (analytics),” Braun said Sunday at the Brewers’ annual winter fan festival.“It’ll be interesting to get back out onto the field and see how those things play out,” he said.Braun often made solid contact last year, ranking 20th among qualified big leaguers in average exit velocity, just ahead of star sluggers Manny Machado and Mike Trout. But that didn’t translate to getting on base.The six-time All-Star hit .254 — his lowest mark in a 12-season career — with 20 home runs and 64 RBIs.Braun is hoping his new and improved swing results in more homers.“If you want to take luck out of the equation, you hit more balls over the fence,” he said. “If I’m able to do that, luck becomes less of a factor.”“We talked about it at length last year, that all the numbers suggested that based on my batted ball profile that I was unlucky. But also that I’m still hitting the ball hard and doing a lot of things well,” he said.One of the reasons Braun feels so re-energized and ready to make a difference is Milwaukee’s rise. He reached the postseason for just the third time last year, with the NL Central champion Brewers coming within one win of making the World Series.The Brewers hadn’t been in the playoffs since 2011, when Braun was the NL MVP.“I think for Ryan postseason baseball and pennant race baseball, it really does bring back the joy because it is so much fun,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.“There is a lot of hard work that goes on in between that. Last year’s run allowed Ryan to discover that in him and what he enjoyed so much about the game. Because he was going through that and had some perspective of that, I think he was able to offer a lot to our other guys Santiago Casilla Jersey ,” he said.Lately, Braun has been lending his insight to Christian Yelich, who was the NL MVP last year in his first season with the Brewers. Yelich, who hit .326 with 36 homers and 110 RBIs, and Braun often worked out with each other in California during the winter.“The challenge becomes figuring out when to say no,” Braun said. “Making sure to do your normal baseball stuff and improve for the season and keeping that your top priority while getting to experience these unique things that come along with the success he’s had.”“I look at him like a little brother — we are together almost every day,” he said.Long the face of the franchise, Braun spent part of Sunday on a stage, taking part in a Brewers-themed game show. In another area of the event, fans flocked to take pictures with Yelich.Braun has entered into the latter stages of his career. A full-time outfielder for more than a decade, he moved over to first base for the first time last year, playing 18 games at the spot.The Brewers wound up with five All-Stars last season, and Braun wasn’t one of them. On a team with Lorenzo Cain hitting over .300 and Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw each connecting for more than 30 homers, Braun is determined to be a force.“I just try to stay present and stay focused on the task at hand,” Braun said. “Always trying to get better. I’m never satisfied with where I’m at and not accepting that I’m older, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get better.” TOKYO (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki is enjoying it while he can.He’s back in Japan and sure to play at the Tokyo Dome when the Seattle Mariners face the Oakland Athletics in two games to open the Major League Baseball season. He’s 45 and knows it can end any moment, but if he has a grand retirement plan, he isn’t revealing it.“This is a great gift for me,” he said Mark McGwire Jersey , speaking through an interpreter at a Saturday news conference. “I will treasure every moment here on the field. One week after this event, I will be reflecting back on these days, so I will make sure I remember every moment here in Japan.”At least one reporter asked him the question directly. “How will you know when it’s time to stop playing? How will you know when it’s time to step aside?”“I have no idea when I will know that,” he said. “I’m not used to questions like that.”Suzuki can do the math that raises the question .He has hit .080 in spring training this season and was hitting .205 when he stepped aside early last season, temporarily retiring to become a Mariners special assistant. The Mariners can accommodate him now with a special 28-man roster for the Japan visit, but it will revert to 25 when the season resumes in the United States a week later.Suzuki recounted previous springs when he hit poorly and then produced, or seasons when he hit in the spring and then struggled en route to 3,089 hits in the majors and 1,278 more in Japan.“Based on my spring training, I shouldn’t be here,” he said, seated next to Mariners manager Scott Servais and Japanese rookie pitcher Yusei Kikuchi. “You can never predict what is going to happen based on spring training. Now I am back in Japan, and (a) country I love, to show what I can still do.”Suzuki called himself “lucky,” acknowledging that “being Japanese” is a key reason why he’s included to play in Tokyo, where he remains a huge draw. He will be the first Japanese inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame and is almost certain to go in on the first ballot.He hooked several line drives to right field in batting practice, then jogged in the outfield with youth players on the field — it’s artificial grass in the Tokyo Dome — shouting to him, “Ichiro, Ichiro.” The youngsters were joined by hundreds of Japanese reporters and TV crews parked around the batting cage — just some of the 1 http://www.athleticsfanproshop.com/authentic-khris-davis-jersey ,000 Japanese reporters accredited for the games Wednesday and Thursday games.Suzuki tried to slip though the arrival area on Friday at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, wearing a black and-gray cap pulled down to cover most of his head. Of course, hundreds of reporters and fans were there to catch a photo or a quick glimpse as he left without speaking.The Mariners and Servais are on the spot. Suzuki is revered in Japan, partly for longevity and breaking though at the top. He’s still highly visible on television commercials around the country, and some Japanese are aware that some of his attraction is now partly commercial.“We’re really taking it a day at a time,” said Servais, whose team is rebuilding with younger players. “We’re looking at the two games here against Oakland. He’ll be available in those two games and we’ll see how it goes.“Well take it from there,” he added. “He’s had an unbelievable career.”Suzuki looked calm and cool taking the questions, sunglasses perched on the bill of his cap — giving more answers than many reporters expected.He also knows the score. This is his 19th season since joining the Mariners in 2001, when he was both the AL MVP and Rookie of the Year, and he’s still doing it his way.“I was traded to New York in 2012, and after that, I knew I’d live each day to the utmost,” he said. “After that, I moved to Miami, and I did the same thing. Day after day I trained. Major League Baseball — it’s a tough world. You can be told anytime you are gone. Right? So that is my basic understanding. I’m battling and I’m still here.”
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