This was not the way the Milwaukee Brewers wanted to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Ryan Braun’s debut in the majors.
The Brewers were forced to pinch-hit for Braun in the 4th inning Thursday night after re-aggravating his left calf injury. It was originally announced as just calf soreness, but after the game, Adam McCalvy reported that the injury would mean a return trip to the disabled list. This time, it sounds like Braun may be gone for more than just the minimum 10 days.
Ryan Braun (left calf) is headed back to the Brewers' DL.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) May 26, 2017
Brewers won't know a Braun timetable until he has an MRI, but expectation is they will take it slower/treat more aggressively this time.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) May 26, 2017
Braun has missed most of May with the calf strain, but was activated from the disabled list on Sunday. He went 0-for-5 in his return against the Cubs, and only played one of the two games against Toronto, going 0-for-3 with a walk on Tuesday. Despite the team’s scheduled off-day on Monday, Braun didn’t play on Wednesday before making just one at-bat on Thursday night and playing three innings in the field.
For what it’s worth, Braun says he doesn’t think it’s as bad as the calf injury that has kept Junior Guerra out until now, but more tests will be needed. Coincidentally, Guerra may be the one that ends up getting added to the 25-man roster with Braun’s return to the DL. The Brewers haven’t announced a corresponding move yet.
If there’s good news for the Brewers, it’s that Braun’s injury is the only one from Thursday night that will require a stint on the disabled list. Manny Pina was hit in the arm with a pitch in the second inning — think of all the little bones in the hand it just missed — but the Brewers say he’s day-to-day. Considering how playing time between the two catchers has been divided so far, Pina was probably due to get a day or two off, anyway.
Speaking to reporters after Thursday night’s game, Braun says he likely rushed his return from the first calf injury.
"I knew, obviously, when I came back I wasn't at 100% but I was hoping it was good enough. I was optimistic I'd be able to work through it.
"As a competitor, you never want to miss any games. And with where we're at as a team, I was hoping I'd be able to work through it and contribute, and do whatever I could to keep us winning games. It actually felt better today than the last couple of games I played in.
"It just grabbed on me when I went to catch the pop up to end the third inning. The first couple of games I played in, I was guarding it pretty good. Today, I felt a little better, so I was trying to drive off the toe a little more to engage the calf. I just wasn't ready."
Sounds like it might be at least another couple weeks’ rest, but we won’t know for sure until the team gets the MRI results.