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Brewers announce Ryan Braun has back procedure, expected back for spring

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

Braun and the Brewers knew the surgery was coming to relieve a herniated disc in his back, which caused him to miss 14 of the last 18 games of the season. The surgery was Oct. 8 in Los Angeles. On Thursday at a Brewers town hall meeting with season ticket holders, general manager David Stearns said the 31-year-old Braun was feeling as good as possible.

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 RBI, 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.