Just a quick item to get those up to speed who might not have been made aware of the happenings over the past couple of days.
Decision Finally Forced on Braun
Ryan Braun was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday morning. The transaction is retroactive to Sunday, April 27th. That means Braun isn’t eligible to return until Monday, May 12th (an off day for the Brewers). He’ll miss the rest of this series against the Cincinnati Reds and both full series against the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees.
Hopefully Braun is ready to go on Tuesday, May 13th against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but having been given no real report on his progress in returning from a strained right oblique, we’re left to wonder and hope.
Return of the Mack
Taking my heading from his choice of walk-up music during home games, Logan Schafer was activated from the disabled list when Braun was placed on it Saturday. Schafer played a handful of games on a rehab assignment, some for Class-A Advanced Brevard County and then for Class-AAA Nashville before returning. He only slashed .133/.222/.200 in 26 combined at-bats, but the Brewers will appreciate getting his steady defense back on the field and his left-handed bat back in the lineup to spell Khris Davis. Davis is struggling pretty hard against right-handed pitching so far this season.
Schafer was originally placed on the DL after straining his hamstring while stretching in the on-deck circle before a pinch-hit appearance on April 17th.
Inflammation Sidelines Henderson
Jim Henderson, who hasn’t pitched in a save situation all season for the Brewers after velocity and command issues plagued him all spring, was placed on the 15-day disabled list following Thursday night’s game against the Reds. Henderson was diagnosed with right shoulder inflammation, which would help explain his reduced velocity in his appearance earlier that night.
The Brewers wanted to get a fresh arm up from the minors anyway — then ended up recalling Rob Wooten — so the timing ended up convenient to that end. Unfortunately it was quite the inconvenience to the outcome of the game as Henderson entered in a tied game and was eventually charged with five earned runs in a rare bullpen blow up.
Once Henderson is actually ready for a rehab assignment, expect the team to take its time in activating him. Given this opportunity, they’ll certainly want to make sure Henderson is finally healthy before rejoining the team.
Steady As She Goes
Tom Gorzelanny, who pitched very well when used out of manager Ron Roenicke‘s bullpen last year, required off-season shoulder surgery and is still working his way back. Gorzelanny still has not begun a minor league rehab assignment after suffering what was called “a little setback” during the second week of April.
Then expected to miss the balance of April, we’re now in May so the question is coming back around as to how Gorzelanny is progressing. With no rehab assignment announced, they’re still looking at a minimum of a couple of weeks.
Here’s the latest from Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Brevard County.
Braun Having Relationship Issues With Rib Cage, Intercostal Discourse At Fault?
After he laid down a bunt base hit late in Saturday’s 5-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park, Ryan Braun was caught by television cameras explaining the action to first base coach Garth Iorg.
And while I don’t think he exactly said, “I only did that because my oblique is [feeling a bit off of normal],” the fact remains that Braun has a slight strain of his intercostal. It’s an ailment that’s plagued him in the past, including in both 2011 and 2012.
Braun was originally diagnosed as “day-to-day”. However, after Sunday’s game, manager Ron Roenicke reclassified him as likely to miss the next “three-to-five days”. Those are keys divisional road series in St. Louis (Monday thru Wednesday) and Cincinnati (Thursday thru Sunday).
The Brewers will miss his bat against the Cardinals. As such, Roenicke was non-committal about starting Elian Herrera in right field for all the games Braun misses, however many that turns out to be. When prompted with Mark Reynolds’ name, Roenicke recounted how Reynolds did play a game in right field for the Brewers during Cactus League play this year.
*** UPDATE – 5:03pm CT *** Adam McCalvy tweets that Braun underwent an MRI last night. Turns out the injury is to his oblique as opposed to the intercostal. Doesn’t necessarily change much with timeframe but they know how to specifically treat it now.
Segura Fortunate to Avoid More Serious Injury
Starting shortstop Jean Segura met with reporters following Sunday’s game to talk about his injury. He did so with a swollen right cheek and a gash on the same currently sealed up with stitches. Roenicke told the media on Saturday that his All-Star had avoided a concussion and any fractures.
It could have been much worse for the Dominican native, and he feared so at the time. “When it happened, I thought it was something bad. Today, I feel much better and thank God nothing was worse.”
When asked on Sunday about his vision, Segura said that he could see fine but that the swelling would need to go down before he could play. He was then asked if he thought he’d be able to play this week coming up.
Schafer Eyes Saturday Return
I spoke to injured Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer after the game on Sunday. He told me that he was set to test out his healing hamstring today (Monday) and then join the Class-A Advanced affiliate Brevard County Manatees for a rehab assignment.
The Brewers could use Schafer’s defense as well as his bat to be available again. Elian Herrera has filled in well enough defensively but hasn’t contributed much at the plate (2-for-13, both singles, .154 AVG with no walks) since being recalled 10 days ago.
Assuming Braun and Segura avoid the DL as is currently the plan publicly, Schafer’s return will likely come with the demotion of Herrera back to Nashville. That would likely be predicated on at least Segura returning to the field before then, as currently Herrera is the backup shortstop to Jeff Bianchi.
Schafer is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, May 3rd in Cincinnati.
Kintzler Returns, Falls From the Unscored Upon
Relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler returned from the DL prior to the just completed weekend series with the Cubs at Miller Park. He made one appearance in the set, an inning of work on Sunday. In it, he allowed his first run of the season when Starlin Castro took him deep to left field. It ended Kintzler’s run with fellow setup man Will Smith and closer Francisco Rodriguez as Brewers relievers who had yet to surrender a run.
Having not gone on a rehab assignemtn, Kintzler will be eased back into setup work while recapturing any lost sharpness.
The Brewers announced this morning that utility infielder Jeff Bianchi was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list where he had been since before the season started. Bianchi originally had a groin strain in spring training which forced his withdrawal from participation in the World Baseball Classic. While that had healed, he then developed hip bursitis, forcing the DL stint.
The corresponding move to activate Bianchi was the optioning of Khris Davis to Nashville where he’ll be able to actually get some playing time and consistent at-bats. As I said last night at the time, Davis simply couldn’t adjust to the role of staying sharp with such irregular PT. He’s hardly alone in that struggle though. Countless players can’t adjust which is why those veterans who can flourish in a bench role, relatively speaking, continue to have such value in the game.
Bianchi’s return is the first in a list of several players expected to heal and contribute to the team’s successes this season. In other words, the Brewers are starting to get healthy.
The key to the timing of these additions is that the guys who have been there have kept the team within striking distance in the division. The Brewers enter play today 1.5 games behind the division-leading Cardinals, whom they face beginning tonight in a four-game series. Play well, and the Brewers will at worst remain where they’re at.
But the Brewers are getting a huge boost back in the lineup for Game 2 in this series as they expect to activate third baseman, cleanup hitter, and professional batsman Aramis Ramirez on Friday.
Ramirez was crucial to the Brewers success last season, especially once he overcame a slow start. He was off to a good start at the dish this year before re-injuring his knee on a slide into second base. Hopefully the games he missed will be the slow ones and he’ll hit the field running on all cylinders this weekend.
And the Brewers won’t stop there. They are still awaiting Corey Hart’s return at the end of the month following off-season knee surgery and Chris Narveson’s from an in-season finger injury.
Hart especially will be akin to trading for a quality player two months before the trading deadline. Hopefully he’ll shake the rust off in his rehab stint in the minors and reenter the lineup sharp.
Good things are coming, Brewer Nation. We’ve been biding our collective time and the team has been winning enough. When the bats are all back in, let’s look for another nice run.