Ryan Braun leaves game with strained intercostal muscle

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Ryan Braun left this afternoon’s game against the Diamondbacks after the top of the first inning due to a strained left intercostal muscle, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com.

The team has him listed as day-to-day right now, but there’s some reason for concern here. Braun has suffered intercostal injuries multiple times in the past, including one that carried into the 2009 season. There’s nothing to suggest that today’s injury will impact his availability for Opening Day, but look for the Brewers to take every precaution here.

Braun batted .304/.366/.501 with 25 homers, 103 RBI, 14 stolen bases and an .866 OPS last season. He is often overlooked in the conversation about the game’s best sluggers, likely by virtue of where he plays, but the 27-year-old outfielder has compiled 128 home runs over his first four seasons, eighth-highest in major league history. As you can see below, the company is pretty impressive.

1. Ralph Kiner – 168

2. Albert Pujols – 160

3. Eddie Matthews – 153

4. Mark Teixeira – 140

5. Joe DiMaggio – 137

6. Frank Robinson – 134

7. Ryan Howard – 129

8. Ryan Braun – 128

9. Ted Williams – 127

10. Chuck Klein – 125

(Hat-tip to the irreplaceable Baseball Reference)

Reds sign outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera to minor league deals

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The Reds picked up outfielders Mason Williams and Rosell Herrera on minor league deals, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports. Both Williams and Herrera will receive invites to spring training and could compete for backup outfield roles behind Adam Duvall, Billy Hamilton and Scott Schebler.

Williams, 26, completed a three-year track with the Yankees in 2017. He has yet to see a full season of playing time, however, and went 4-for-17 with two stolen bases during a five-game span with the club in 2017. While not a power hitter, his speed and steady contact rate produced a .263/.309/.318 batting line over 437 plate appearances in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including two home runs, three triples and 19 stolen bases.

Herrera, 25, has yet to make his big league debut. After seven years in the Rockies’ system, he finally reached Triple-A Albuquerque in 2017 and slashed .278/.351/.394 with three home runs and 20 stolen bases in 363 PA. He looks most comfortable in the left field corner, but has some experience at shortstop and third base and should give the Reds a nice utility option come spring.