CINCINNATI -- Jonathan Villar watched the flight of Ryan Braun's opposite field home run on Saturday night at Class A Advanced Wisconsin and said to himself, "Wow, that guy is ready to play."Both players were back with the Brewers on Tuesday in an 8-6 loss to the Reds. Braun went
CINCINNATI -- Jonathan Villar watched the flight of Ryan Braun's opposite field home run on Saturday night at Class A Advanced Wisconsin and said to himself, "Wow, that guy is ready to play."
Both players were back with the Brewers on Tuesday in an 8-6 loss to the Reds. Braun went 1-for-5 with a double and a run scored, and Villar came on as a pinch-hitter, but went 0-for-1.
The Brewers designated Nick Franklin for assignment to make room for Villar. They had already optioned outfielder Lewis Brinson back to Triple-A Colorado Springs to clear a spot for Braun.
Asked about the impact of Braun's return to the lineup, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, "I think our bench is full of good players. I know that. But certainly, [getting] a guy who has hit third and been a really good player for a long time back in your lineup, it's exciting to have that back. He's the kind of hitter who can win games by himself with good nights."
Braun was 2-for-8 with a home run, two walks and two RBIs in three games with Wisconsin. Villar was 8-for-13 with six RBIs in four games.
"The whole experience went really well," Braun said. "I got tested by getting some at-bats, getting some balls in the outfield, running the bases a little bit, doing a lot of the things you need to do to regain confidence when you're coming back from an injury."
Braun is expected to play two of the Brewers' three games this week at Great American Ball Park, part of an effort to avoid a repeat of Braun's last return from injury. Last month, he re-injured his calf in his third game back following a 10-day stint on the DL.
Since Braun first injured his calf on May 1 through Sunday, the Brewers went 28-24, while enduring a drop in offensive production. They ranked 23rd of 30 Major League teams in that span with 4.54 runs per game and 20th with a .755 OPS.
After Braun went on the DL for a second time May 26, the Brewers three-hole hitters combined for a .775 OPS, 16th in the Majors over that span.
While Braun resumed regular duty, Villar found himself on the bench Tuesday behind surging second baseman Eric Sogard. Counsell reiterated that Villar will have to compete for at-bats.
"I'll be ready for everything," Villar said.
Hart to be honored Friday
Jon Hart, the two-time National League All-Star who was part of the wave of prospects which lifted Milwaukee to contender status during the late 2000s, will sign a one-day contract Friday to retire as a Brewer before the team inducts him into its Wall of Honor at Miller Park.
Hart will become the 60th member of the Wall of Honor, which was dedicated in 2014 and includes players and staffers who meet a set of criteria for longevity and production. Hart manned right field and first base for the Brewers over nine of his 11 Major League seasons, and topped 20 home runs five times, including 30-plus homer seasons in 2010 and '12.
Honorees on the Wall have a plaque with their photo and a brief synopsis of their career. The plaques are designed by Matthews International, who make the plaques for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.