Packers QB Rodgers pays visit to Brewers

By John Pesetski
Special to

PHOENIX — For a few hours Wednesday afternoon, there were two players wearing No. 12 at the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training complex. And though Martin Maldonado is a skilled and respected catcher in the organization, it was the other No. 12 who turned heads.

Green Bay Packers quarterback and 2011 NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers spent the day with Brewers players. A close friend of left fielder and 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun, Rodgers defended Braun on Twitter after the Brewers star won his appeal of a 50-game MLB suspension last week. The QB is a familiar face around Miller Park during the summer.

“We see him quite a bit in Milwaukee during the season. He’s a great guy,” right fielder Corey Hart said. “It’s great to have him here today. Anytime you can get guys that play other sports out here, it’s great. We just cut up and talk about guy stuff.”

Warmly welcomed in the clubhouse, Rodgers seemed very comfortable among the 2011 NL Central champions. He had lunch in the clubhouse with Braun and catcher Jonathan Lucroy and spoke with several other players.

“It’s good having him hang out here,” second baseman Rickie Weeks said. “He’s a good friend to the team, and he loves baseball. . . . He’s a celebrity in Wisconsin and a good guy.”

On hand to shoot a TV commercial for the Brewers, Rodgers spent the morning watching a group of players that included Hart, Weeks, Braun and center fielder Nyjer Morgan. In addition to chatting with players and coaches, the Pro Bowl quarterback — dressed in blue jeans and T-shirt — shagged a few fly balls during batting practice.

“It was cool,” said Morgan, who practiced with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks just before the start of spring training. “Anytime guys from the sporting world come out, it’s fun. It’s all one big fraternity. We love having those guys out. They’re cool.”

Though Rodgers neither hit nor threw during practice, the energetic Morgan speculated he could handle a heater from the Packers quarterback. When asked what he would do with a Rodgers fastball, Morgan, laughing, replied, “I’d bust it. Oh yeah, I’d bust it man.”

Brewers officials were coy about the story line of the commercial shoot, wanting to keep it a surprise for fans. However, Rodgers, wore a No. 12 Brewers jersey for the shoot and took swings in the batting cage while Lucroy caught and Braun looked on.