In a huge blow to the fortunes of the Milwaukee Brewers and their chase towards a .500 record and the NL Central title, Ryan Braun's hand injury diagnosis has been confirmed by a second specialist and will more than likely lead to Braun needing more time to recover than originally expected.
As discussed here previously at MLB Injury News, Braun's thumb injury has been nagging for quite some time, but has begun to really slow him down the last several weeks, in particular in June, as his .286/.333/.321 slash line for the month attests. Braun also has gone his last 65 at bats without a home run, out of character with his usual slugging ways. The player affectionately known as The Hebrew Hammer has a career 19.1 plate appearance per home run rate, good for a 36 home run per year average.
While surgery does not appear to be necessary for Braun's recovery, rest does, prompting the extended time away from the Brewer's lineup and some cryptic responses from both Braun and manager Ron Roenicke:
We’ll see what happens at the end of this DL, and it sounds like he’s [Braun]
going to have to swing and see how it feels and see if we can cushion it
enough to when he goes out there, we don’t go back to where he was when
we went on the DL.
Eligible to return from the DL this coming Tuesday during the Brewers series with the Chicago Cubs, it appears that the onus is upon Braun and his threshold for pain to sway an extended stay on the DL - possibly up to a month longer than expected - for a right thumb bruise and an inflamed nerve. Braun, while relieved to finally have confirmation of the type of injury and his prospects for returning, did remain apprehensive in discussing many details of the injury or its rehab:
It was nothing that we didn’t expect. What’s kind of nice
is we get some clarity, at least. We have a better idea of,
confirmation, of what we’re dealing with.
The 29 year old is currently hitting at a .304/.380/.509 slash line, good for a .376 wOBA, 140 OPS+ and 1.8 fWAR. In spite of the injury sapping him of much of his power, Braun still remains in the top 20 of many National League statistical categories, including wOBA, slugging percentage, and BABIP.
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