Brewers pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training

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PHOENIX — Temperatures may not be over 20 degrees yet in Wisconsin, but it’s starting to feel like Spring.

Pitchers and catchers for the Milwaukee Brewers began reporting to Spring Training in Phoenix today.

The Brewers will look to bounce back from a disappointing pandemic-shortened 2020 season that saw them finish at 29-31 — their first losing record since 2016 — but still make the playoffs for the third year in a row, thanks to MLB’s expanded playoff format last year.

As of now, the expanded playoff format will not be in effect for 2021.

The Brewers will have All-Star Lorenzo Cain back in the lineup this year after he opted out of playing early last season. The Brewers also signed Gold Glove second baseman Kolten Wong from the division rival St. Louis Cardinals, an addition that may shift Keston Hiura to first base.

Former NL MVP Christian Yelich also returns and will look to get back to his MVP form after he spent much of the shortened 2020 season trying to dig out of a prolonged slump with the bat.

One familiar face that won’t be in camp: longtime Brewer Ryan Braun, who saw the final year of his contract declined by the Brewers in the offseason and recently said he currently had no interest in playing this year — although the 37-year-old did say he’s staying in shape in case the desire to return does come up.

Despite a relatively quiet offseason, the Brewers enter the 2021 season as one of the possible favorites to win the NL Central — a division many experts see as one of the weakest in baseball.

The team announced last week it would allow a limited number of fans to attend their Spring Training games in Phoenix, which start next month. The team has yet to officially announce whether they plan to allow fans into American Family Field for regular season games.

Opening Day is scheduled for April 1st in Milwaukee against the Minnesota Twins.