- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) - When it comes to the “Biogenesis Bunch,” there’s Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and then everybody else.

Fourteen players were suspended last summer by Major League Baseball as part of the Biogenesis drug scandal, ranging from All-Stars to also-rans.

As a new season starts up, time to check on how they’re doing.

Rodriguez is out for the year. So the A-Rod media circus will have to wait until 2015, assuming he returns.

That leaves Braun as the next most notable name on the list. He said he’s sorry for getting into the mess and eager to compile the kind of stats that made him the 2011 NL MVP.

“I embrace the challenge that lies ahead,” the Milwaukee slugger said upon reporting to spring training. “I know it won’t be easy, but I intend to do everything in my power to continue to be the best person and player I can be.”

After apologizing several times in the offseason, Braun returned to a corner locker customary for a top player. He has the strong support of manager Ron Roenicke.

Braun got off to a good start at the plate. He went into this week hitting .440 with two homers and five RBIs in 25 spring at-bats.

Even had a homer in his first spring at-bat.

“Not surprising. He’s one of those guys, just a special athlete,” Roenicke said after the Feb. 27 shot.

With Braun back to bolster a lineup that had Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura and Jonathan Lucroy emerge last season, the Brewers hope to contend again in the NL Central.

St. Louis is the reigning division champ, and a 50-game suspension for shortstop Jhonny Peralta didn’t prevent the team from signing him to a four-year, $53 million deal in the offseason. The discipline stemmed from an investigation into Biogenesis of America, a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing substances.

A couple big leaguers were miffed.

“It pays to cheat… Thanks, owners, for encouraging PED use,” Arizona pitcher Brad Ziegler tweeted after the deal was announced in November.

Not a bad start in Cardinal red: Peralta was hitting over .300 with three homers this spring as of the beginning of the week.

Story Continues →