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Twins-Brewers Preview

AP - Sports

Times are tough for the Milwaukee Brewers.

It's unclear if slugger Ryan Braun will be in the lineup Tuesday night, and the Brewers will be using a pitcher who failed to win a game in Japan last season in a home matchup with the Minnesota Twins.

Milwaukee (19-30) has lost 19 of 24 after falling 6-3 on Monday. Braun was held out of the lineup with a nagging right thumb injury, although he lined out as a pinch-hitter to end the game.

The former NL MVP also says he has been bothered by a stiff neck, but the thumb injury is affecting his ability to hold the bat.

"It's not getting any better at all, so it's just at the point where I need to take the time to get it close to being healthy so I can contribute and do the things I'm used to doing," he told the Brewers' official website.

Aramis Ramirez will be back in the lineup Tuesday after a planned day off by manager Ron Roenicke, who met with general manager Doug Melvin on Sunday to discuss the team's woes.

Roenicke will give Alfredo Figaro (0-0, 3.46 ERA) his first start of 2013. Figaro was a starter the last two seasons for Orix in Japan, going 0-5 with a 3.09 ERA in 11 outings last season for the last-place Buffaloes.

Figaro last started in the majors in 2010 with Detroit, and owns an 8.31 ERA in four career big-league starts. The right-hander has never faced any of the current hitters on the Twins.

"He's extended enough, and he's got his pitch count up there," Roenicke said. "He's a strong guy."

Making matters worse for the Brewers is their major league-worst 4-17 record against left-handed starters as they get ready to face Scott Diamond (3-4, 4.96), who won his lone start against them last May 18 when he allowed three runs over 5 1-3 innings in an 11-3 road victory.

Diamond is also 3-0 with a 2.19 ERA in four road starts compared to 0-4 with an 8.27 mark in four at home. He's 0-2 with an 8.62 ERA in his last three outings overall after yielding three runs over 5 2-3 innings as he failed to receive a decision in Thursday's 7-6 defeat at Detroit.

Minnesota (20-28) is wrapping up a nine-game trip, winning two of three following a 10-game slide.

Joe Mauer scored three runs Monday, homering in the seventh inning on a long fly to left field that was initially ruled a double before umpires went to video replay.

"I'm just glad they went and reviewed it and got it right," Mauer said. "Nobody wants a homer taken away from them like that."

Former Twins outfielder Carlos Gomez homered twice for the second time in three games. Gomez is hitting .432 in 12 meetings with Minnesota since being traded to Milwaukee before the 2010 season for J.J. Hardy.

The Twins aren't surprised by what they are seeing from Gomez.

"He's got all the tools," manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twns' official website. "It's just a matter of harnessing it all and putting it to work in the right way."

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