In Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox, Ryan Braun had to come out of the game early after hitting a single with right calf tightness. He was held out of today’s game, which was a planned off-day for him anyway. However, it appears as though the injury is more severe than initially thought.
Counsell is now calling Ryan Braun's tight calf a strain. Unlikely Braun will play Friday. Sounds like DL may be in play.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) May 11, 2017
While no official timetable was given at the time, it won’t be long until we know how long Braun will miss. An announcement is coming tomorrow, where they will give more information on the injury. The fact that they are waiting until tomorrow to make an announcement likely means that it will be a DL move, pending a decision on who to bring up.
At this point, if Braun is still hurting from his arm injury and a leg injury, placing him on the disabled list is the right move to make, even if the timetable is low (Braun did say his calf isn’t as bad as Junior Guerra’s). He should get some rest and get back to full strength, and not try to play through these injuries in addition to the others that have to be managed across the season. Hopefully a DL stint will be enough to do just that.
With a DL move potentially coming, who could the Brewers bring up to fill the roster spot? An outfielder will be needed since the Brewers were already playing with only four outfielders (with Nick Franklin listed as one of those outfielders), using the utility players to cover as needed. The Brewers do have four true outfielders in the minors that are on the 40-man roster: Lewis Brinson, Ryan Cordell, Brett Phillips, and Michael Reed. Any of those players could be brought up to fill in the outfield during an absence for Braun.
In addition, the Brewers have one open 40-man spot, so they could add someone to the 40-man roster as well. Since the Brewers are dealing with an outfielder logjam at Triple-A, a guy like Kyle Wren could be added, and he would have a full compliment of options available for the Brewers to use. They could also choose to add Kirk Nieuwenhuis back to the roster, but he would have no options available and have to go back through waivers to return to the minors. There’s also the possibility of a move outside the organization, which is always in play with GM David Stearns.
The call-up here could be dependent on the role that the called-up player would have on the roster. If the player will be starting, calling up one of the top prospects (Brinson, Cordell, Phillips) would make more sense, to give them a chance to get regular MLB at-bats. There’s a question of dealing with the service time (all would still face Super Two considerations), but that’s one that can be addressed later. If the player would be mostly playing off the bench, it would make more sense to leave those guys in the minors for regular playing time. In that case, it would make more sense to call up Reed, or add and call-up Wren or Nieuwenhuis. That wouldn’t disrupt the top prospects as much, and give the Brewers another true outfielder on the bench.
For those of you hoping to look to the minors for an indication, here’s what we know so far from today’s minor league games. The Sky Sox already played today, and Lewis Brinson, Ryan Cordell, and Brett Phillips all played full games. Neither Kyle Wren nor Kirk Nieuwenhuis played in the game. Meanwhile, in Biloxi, Michael Reed is in the starting lineup for the Shuckers tonight.
We should have more information tomorrow about how long Ryan Braun’s injury will take to heal, if he will be placed on the DL, and the player that will be called up. Check back tomorrow for more information on Braun, as well as the start of the series against the New York Mets.