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Brewers open season in Milwaukee against Colorado Rockies

The Milwaukee Brewers will open their 44th Major League Baseball season Monday afternoon at Miller Park against the Colorado Rockies.

Most national predictors don't have the Brewers finishing higher than third in the National League Central, but team owner Mark Attanasio says the Brewers have the potential to surprise folks with the top offense in the National League from a year ago, and starters which all have ERAs under four. They include recent free-agent acquisition Kyle Lohse, who will start on Friday against Arizona.

Milwaukee went 83-79 a year ago, after a late division run which fell short. Still, the Brewers led the league with 776 runs scored, 202 homers and 158 stolen bases.

Ryan Braun is healthy, but he faces a possible suspension later in the year as baseball investigates whether he and other players bought performance-enhancing drugs from a Miami clinic.

Attanasio says he has not talked with General Manager Doug Melvin about the possibility, or how the Brewers might respond.

The Brewers open against a Rockies team which lost 98 games a year ago, as Manager Jim Tracy was fired and replaced by Walt Weiss. Colorado expects a big year from All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who was limited to 47 games with injuries in 2012.

Right-hander Yovani Gallardo will open for Milwaukee Monday against right-hander Jhoulys Chacin. The first pitch is at 1:10 under the retractable roof at Miller Park.

Bucks chasing playoff entry

The Milwaukee Bucks will host Charlotte Monday night. The Bucks are trying to settle into a faster-paced offense in time for the playoffs. With 10 games left, Milwaukee's magic number remains at four to clinch its first post-season bid in three years.

But unless they get hot now, the Bucks will face the torrid Miami Heat in the first-round later this month. Milwaukee is two and a half games behind Boston for the No. 7 playoff spot, which has a first-round date with either Indiana or New York.

The Bucks are coming off a 10-point home loss to Oklahoma City on Saturday night. Milwaukee scored just four fast-break points against the Thunder, after getting a season-high 30 points in transition against the Los Angeles Lakers last Thursday.

The Bucks are two games below .500 at 35-37. Charlotte has won three of its last seven, and is 17-56. The Bobcats are coming off an eight-point loss at Philadelphia last Saturday in which rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 21.