Ryan Braun has left the Brewers to go back to Milwaukee and be with his wife, model Larisa Fraser, as she gives birth to the couple's first child.
Though the distance between Milwaukee and Chicago is not great, Braun is, naturally, not expected to be in the lineup tonight in the team's series finale against the Cubs. The Brewers finally head back to Milwaukee for an important series against the Cardinals next, so it's reasonable to believe Braun will likely be back in the lineup at that time.
It's actually fairly fortunate timing for Braun and the Brewers: The team will not head back out onto the road for nearly two more weeks when they begin a series in St. Louis on the 16th.
Tonight, however, the Brewers will be down two starting outfielders with Carlos Gomez also out due to a sprained wrist. With Gomez out, Gerardo Parra has been playing center field.
With rosters having expanded at the beginning of the month, the Brewers do have a number of options to replace Braun in right, however. The team will be facing a right-hander as Kyle Hendricks takes the mound for the Cubs tonight. That could mean the team puts lefty Logan Schafer in the outfield, either in right field or in center with Parra moving to right. Schafer is the option with the most time spent in the outfield, so the odds would likely be on him to start.
If not Schafer, new call up Matt Clark has played some outfield in the minors and is also a left-hander. However, he has not been in right field since 2011 and has more experience in left. Even then, he has a total of 86 games played between the two. Similarly, right-hander Jason Rogers has played some outfield in the minors, but has spent all of one game in right and is more of an emergency opton.
Elian Herrera is another option, though a few miscues yesterday may have cost him the opportunity to start for a few games. Mark Reynolds has also played three games in right field this year. He could assume that role once more, allowing left-hander Lyle Overbay to play first base.
Whichever option the Brewers choose, it's probably a good thing Braun won't miss a ton of time. Though he is having a very un-Braunesque year, he's is still hitting for an 807 OPS with 18 home runs and is clearly a better option than anyone else who could play out there.
Congratulations to Braun and Fraser on the birth of their first child!