Padres-Brewers Preview

The Associated Press

Ryan Braun became the first star to fall in baseball's latest scandal.

The Milwaukee Brewers had already dropped into the NL Central cellar.

With Braun suspended for the rest of the season, the Brewers will try to avoid another loss without their star Tuesday night when they host the last-place San Diego Padres.

Braun was suspended without pay for the rest of the regular season and playoffs, becoming the first player to face sanctions for reported involvement with a Florida clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs.

The 2011 NL MVP had avoided a suspension last year, when an arbitrator ruled his positive test was invalid since the urine sample had been improperly handled.

"I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions," Braun said in a statement after vehemently denying any wrongdoing during a press conference in spring training last year.

The Brewers (41-57) dropped to 13-24 without Braun this season with a 5-3 loss Monday in the opener of this four-game series, which marked the beginning of the five-time All-Star's suspension.

"I'm somewhat happy this is over with so we can move forward," general manager Doug Melvin said. "He's a Milwaukee Brewer. He's wearing the uniform next year. His focus will be to get ready for next year."

For now, the Brewers may continue to miss him in this series since he's batting .386 over his last 12 home games against San Diego (44-56).

Milwaukee may also be without All-Star center fielder Carlos Gomez for a third game due to a sore left elbow. That could mean rookies Logan Schafer and Caleb Gindl starting again in place of Gomez and Braun.

The young duo combined to go 0 for 5 with three walks Monday, and Schafer has a .190 average at home this season.

Gindl, though, is 7 for 23 (.304) in eight games at Miller Park, connecting for a walkoff homer in Sunday's 1-0, 13-inning win over Miami.

Another rookie is expected to be on the mound, as Donovan Hand (0-1, 3.27 ERA) is slated to get a rare start.

The right-hander has been used out of the bullpen in 12 of his 15 games, including each of the last three. He didn't get a decision in his latest start after allowing three runs and three walks over five innings in an 8-5 loss at Washington on July 4.

Hand is 0-1 with a 3.07 ERA in his three starts.

The Padres have split four games since the All-Star break, hitting .227 in those victories compared to .329 during the defeats.

Tyson Ross (0-4, 3.60) is returning to the rotation for the first time since injuring his left - non-throwing - shoulder while getting a hit in a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 17.

He went 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts before making 19 relief appearances since the injury prevented him from hitting.

"It was unfortunate I had an injury early in the season, but I'm excited about getting back in the rotation and starting every fifth day," Ross told the team's official website.

In preparation for facing the Brewers for the first time, Ross made two starts for Triple-A Tucson, yielding two runs in nine innings.

"His arm is strong ... he feels good," manager Bud Black said.

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