Braun lands on DL for first time in career
CINCINNATI -- After exhausting all other options, the Brewers placed left fielder Ryan Braun on the 15-day disabled list Friday when the slugger experienced more of the same sharp pain in his right hand during batting practice.
Braun's first swings in five days were viewed as a last chance to avoid the DL for what he has described as an inflamed nerve between his right thumb and index finger. He was removed in the third inning of Sunday's game against the Phillies at Miller Park, and he sat out the Brewers' entire three-game series in Miami, hoping the pain would quiet with some rest.
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 was Braun's first career trip to the disabled list. The Brewers will formally recall outfielder Caleb Gindl from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday to take Braun's place.
"The next step is something I don't want to do," manager Ron Roenicke said before Braun's batting practice swings. "But if that's the best way to do it, then we'll do it. That's why we want to see where he is today. If he's really good, then we know where to go."
And if he was not really good?
"We've talked about all the different things," Roenicke said.
Braun has been dealing with pain near his right thumb for about a month, yet still entered the weekend among the National League leaders in slugging percentage (ninth, .509), on-base percentage (10th, .380) and OPS (10th, 890). He's hitting .304 with nine homers and 36 RBIs.
The conundrum for the Brewers has been this: Braun can swing a bat, and even him swinging at 60-70 percent of full strength can keep him a dangerous hitter. But is it worth perpetuating the injury over the entire season, or even making it worse?
With no signs of progress, club officials answered "no" to that question. With Braun on the DL, Logan Schafer will continue playing regularly in left field, and the Brewers promoted the left-handed-hitting Gindl from Nashville.
Gindl, batting .364 over his previous 10 games, was a last-minute scratch from the Sounds' lineup on Friday night.