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Brewers’ Burnitz Sits Out Workout

February 24, 2000

PHOENIX (AP) _ All-Star right fielder Jeromy Burnitz missed the Milwaukee Brewers’ first full-squad workout of the spring Wednesday because of a slightly strained muscle near his rib cage.

Burnitz, who has led the team in home runs and RBIs the past two seasons, said he expected to join his teammates on the field Thursday or Friday.

``It’s nothing serious,″ said Burnitz, who hurt himself during a voluntary workout Tuesday. ``If it had happened during the season, I’d be playing. But, I don’t want it to be something that bothers me all spring. I just figure I’ll give it a day or two and I should be all right.″

Burnitz’s injury was the only major glitch as the Brewers position players worked out for the first time under rookie manager Davey Lopes.

Lopes has been watching the team’s 32 pitchers and six catchers work out since last Friday as he gets acquainted with his new team.

``If they don’t know me yet, they will know me before too long,″ said Lopes, who hopes to snap the Brewers out of their string of seven consecutive losing seasons.

During a popup drill, Lopes assembled what is likely to be his starting infield: Kevin Barker at first base, Ron Belliard at second, Mark Loretta at shortstop and Jose Hernandez at third.

``I want those guys to get used to working together,″ he said. ``We’ll work some other guys in there, too, but I don’t think anybody is being fooled by that. Those guys are going to start.″

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