Prior to Wednesday's afternoon game against the Diamondbacks, injured Brewers star Ryan Braun has been taking batting practice. According to Andrew Gruman, this indicates there is a good chance he is on track to be activated on Tuesday, which would be the earliest possible date.
Originally thought to have suffered an intercostal strain, Braun has been out since April 26 with what was later found to be an oblique injury. Milwaukee tried to keep him off of the DL, but when Logan Schafer was eligible to be activated the decision was made to cut their losses.
There hasn't been any word on him having a tough go of it while taking BP, which is a good indication. Had he suffered any pain or setbacks, it would, naturally, be much less likely that he returns when first eligible.
Braun will, obviously, be a huge help for the Brewers when he does return. Since he sustained the injury, the Brewers are just 4-5. The team is already dealing with big slumps from Khris Davis and Aramis Ramirez, both of whom are getting the day off on Wednesday in an effort to get them back on track mentally.
Here's another look at the effect Braun has on the Brewers' lineup: Before he was injured, the team hit .261/.315/.420 as a whole, averaging 4.2 runs a game. Since his injury, the team is hitting .210/.276/.353 and averaging 3.4 runs per game.\
Obviously there are other factors in play with those stats, along with the usual small sample size caveat. But it's indisputable that having a bona fide superstar like Braun in the lineup changes things. It makes the hitters around him better, changes how the opposing pitcher gameplans, etc. etc. The difference going from Braun to Logan Schafer is big.
In addition, with Carlos Gomez's appeal coming up in a few days, the Brewers may be down to just one reliable hitter (Jonathan Lucroy) in their lineup for a few games. It may be a rough go for the next week, but Braun coming back as soon as possible will hopefully provide a spark to the Brewers' offense.