While a potential suspension due to his connection to the Biogenesis clinic in Florida looms in the background, Ryan Braun’s main concern right now is to get his ailing right thumb healthy. In order to help that process along, the Milwaukee Brewers finally decided to place their all-star outfielder on the 15-day disabled list — his first trip in his seven-year career — on Friday night, which will be retroactive to June 9.
The injury, described as a slow-healing bruise, has been lingering since the latter part of May, but Braun continued playing through it despite the fact that it was sapping his power — he hasn't homered since May 22. He took one day off on June 5 but saw little improvement. He was then removed from Milwaukee's June 9 game after playing only three innings and hasn't seen the field since.
Prior to Friday night's game in Cincinnati, Braun was finally ready to test the thumb with a round of batting practice. According to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, that did not go well at all.
On one of his first swings behind the batting cage Friday, it was clear from his grimace it did not work.
“More of the same,” Braun said. “It basically has been the same for a while. Everything we have tried to get to the point where I can take a regular swing [has not helped. We’ve tried different wraps on the bat, different padding on the batting gloves. We’ve basically tried everything we can think of.”
The last resort would be Braun’s first-ever trip to the disabled list.
A few days of rest is expected to do the trick, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Braun back by the end of June. That said, the Brewers are very likely to play it safe to make sure another setback is avoided, so it might be safer to say before the all-star break.
In the meantime, Milwaukee will continue to roll with 26-year-old Logan Schafer in left field and hope for the best. No, Schafer won't match Braun's .509 slugging percentage or .380 on-base percentage, but he did have three hits in their loss to Cincinnati on Friday night. We'll call that acceptable.
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