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Big League Stew

Ryan Braun's thumb bothered by nerve issue

David Brown
Big League Stew
Ryan Braun high five thumb
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(AP)

The nerve of Ryan Braun — one between his right thumb and forefinger — has the Milwaukee Brewers concerned again. While he can manage the pain of swinging a bat, Braun cannot tell how hard he is gripping a ball for throws and has developed "crazy bruises and blisters" on his hand. Braun had the same problem last season before he got popped with a season-ending PED suspension in the Biogenesis case. He will sit out the Brewers game Friday and hopes to return Saturday.

Braun doesn't want to consider surgery yet, but he might if his thumb doesn't improve. But even when he has managed to stay on the field, the injury has affected his play, as Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports:

Braun was bothered by the same thumb in the early months of last season, when he batted .298 with nine home runs and 38 games. He hit only two home runs after April 26, and none in 20 games from May 24 through his July 22 suspension for the remainder of the season.

Braun did not have surgery at that time because there are no guarantees it will work, and the hope existed that rest would resolve the problem. It did improve during his hiatus, and Braun belted a home run in his first Spring Training at-bat and hit three homers in the spring overall.

Braun, of course, is trying to re-start his career at age 30 after the Biogenesis embarrassment of 2013. He's been greeted warmly by Brewers fans in general after spending the offseason apologizing for lying about having bought PEDs from Tony Bosch. He batted well in spring training as McCalvy said, but has only one single in 12 plate appearances so far. His balky thumb stands to be a bigger issue than the PEDs going forward.

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David Brown edits Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

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