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Braun back with Crew after thumb cryotherapy

Brewers outfielder occasionally receives treatment to relieve nerve pain
MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun is back with the Brewers after he underwent cryotherapy on his troublesome right thumb in Los Angeles on Wednesday, a procedure he's occasionally undergone since 2014 to relieve nerve pain. He didn't miss any action, as the Brewers' finale with the Pirates was postponed by rain.

Manager Craig Counsell believed it was the fifth time Braun has required the procedure, and the first time this year. Counsell says he will take it day to day with his 34-year-old left fielder.

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MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Braun is back with the Brewers after he underwent cryotherapy on his troublesome right thumb in Los Angeles on Wednesday, a procedure he's occasionally undergone since 2014 to relieve nerve pain. He didn't miss any action, as the Brewers' finale with the Pirates was postponed by rain.

Manager Craig Counsell believed it was the fifth time Braun has required the procedure, and the first time this year. Counsell says he will take it day to day with his 34-year-old left fielder.

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"He's back, and he's doing fine," Counsell said. "He'll kind of take it easy today, hopefully, but he's available if we need him."

Braun, who is slashing just .236/.290/.429 this season despite a high percentage of high contact, developed discomfort in recent days that was not abating with on-site treatment.

Eric Thames was in the starting lineup in left field on Thursday in the series opener against the Cardinals.

On when Braun can be expected back in the lineup, Counsell said, "It's just one of those things where if he feels good, but we'll just make sure today."

Braun first experienced severe pain at the base of his thumb in 2014, the year he returned from a PED suspension and endured a drastic drop in power production, with just 19 home runs in 580 plate appearances. That worked out to one homer every 30.5 plate appearances, after he hit one every 20.4 plate appearances in the previous six seasons. Cryotherapy helped significantly beginning in 2015.

In the procedure, a specialist injects a needle into the base of Braun's thumb to freeze the nerve.

Dr. Vernon Williams, who performed Braun's first cryotherapy, told the Brewers that the procedure can be repeated safely as long as it is not done more frequently than every three to four months, perhaps throughout the remainder of Braun's playing career if symptoms persist.

Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

Milwaukee Brewers, Ryan Braun