PHOENIX -- With Ryan Braun resting a bruised left knee, Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez was similarly sidelined on Saturday when he jammed his left knee on a slide at second base.
Ramirez's bloop double down the left field line snapped an 0-for-10 start, but he came up limping after sliding into the bag. He left the Angels-Brewers game immediately, then walked back to the clubhouse with head athletic trainer Dan Wright for evaluation. The official diagnosis was a left knee strain.
"When he slid into the bag, the impact," manager Ron Roenicke said. "They checked it out and they don't think there's any damage anywhere, but it's day to day, and that usually ends up being more than just a day."
The Brewers play at the Cubs on Sunday before a team off-day on Monday.
Both of the Brewers' middle-of-the-order hitters are now banged up. Braun did not play Saturday after taking a foul ball of his left knee two days earlier, though Roenicke was confident the injury would not prevent Braun from playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
"He went through all of his workouts, hit up here and just didn't feel right running," Roenicke said.
Braun will join Team USA on Sunday and participate in workouts and exhibitions throughout the week before the team's Classic opener against Canada on Friday night.
Brewers prepare for Classic exodus
PHOENIX -- With players beginning to depart Sunday for the World Baseball Classic, the clubhouse at Maryvale Baseball Park is about to become a whole lot more spacious.
At the moment, the Brewers have a Major League-leading 13 participants in the Classic, including 10 players from big league camp. Many were scheduled to depart on Sunday to join their nations' training camps, either elsewhere in greater Phoenix or in Florida.
"It will be nice to get away and break up what can be the monotony of Spring Training, the day-in and day-out routine," said Canadian closer John Axford. "But at the same time, it's the first time in 10 years I've been able to put on the uniform of Team Canada, so I'm really, really, really looking forward to representing my country on this world stage. I think it will be good, too, to gear up a little bit and get some of the anxiety of a 'real' game."
Axford, fellow reliever Jim Henderson and infielder Taylor Green will report to Goodyear, Ariz., for a quick Team Canada training camp -- they play an exhibition against the Brewers on Tuesday, and Axford and Henderson are both scheduled to pitch.
Left fielder Ryan Braun and catcher Jonathan Lucroy will join Team USA for a few days of training in Scottsdale, Ariz. Starting pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada will train with Team Mexico in Glendale, Ariz., though Gallardo will return to Brewers camp on Tuesday to test a minor groin injury. Infielder Jeff Bianchi and Team Italy will also train in Glendale.
Two of the Brewers' big league participants will travel. Catcher Martin Maldonado and right-hander Hiram Burgos are to travel Sunday morning to Ft. Myers, Fla., to join Team Puerto Rico, which will play exhibition games before traveling again to San Juan, Puerto Rico for Pool C.
"It's going to be fun and intense for the same time," said Lucroy, who will catch Estrada's start against the Cubs on Sunday before attending a Team USA meeting that night. "I'm not going there to collect a paycheck. I'm going there to win a championship."
Classic departures bring opportunities
PHOENIX -- The start of the World Baseball Classic means opportunity for the extra catchers in Brewers camp.
Both of the catchers on Milwaukee's 40-man roster are playing in the tournament -- Jonathan Lucroy for the U.S. and Martin Maldonado for Puerto Rico. Five non-roster invitees will cover those absences: Dayton Buller, Anderson De La Rosa, Robinzon Diaz, Blake Lalli and Adam Weisenburger.
"They said, 'Get ready to play. You're going to get a lot of work,'" said Lalli, 29, who made his Major League debut last season with the Cubs.
Diaz is the only other member of the group with big league experience. He played 44 games with the Blue Jays and Pirates in 2008 and '09.
The other three players were in the Brewers' organization last year. Buller is the most experienced, but he has been sidelined from Cactus League games so far by a calf strain, manager Ron Roenicke said.
Lalli, who could end up being the top catcher at Triple-A Nashville, welcomed the heavy workload.
"That's what you want as a player -- opportunity," he said.
• Roenicke said he was seeing good things from third baseman Aramis Ramirez, even though Ramirez was hitless in his first nine Spring Training at-bats.
"I like his at-bats. He's hit some balls hard," Roenicke said. "The hits, they're nice to have more, probably for the player because he knows he has some hits and can relax a little bit. For me, I like to see [quality] at-bats right now."
• Shortstops Jean Segura and Jeff Bianchi agreed to terms on 2013 contracts Saturday, the final members of Milwaukee's 40-man roster to sign.