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)

Giants sign Austin Jackson to two-year, $6 million contract

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The Giants announced on Monday night the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a two-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives that allow Jackson to earn up to an additional $2.5 million for a total of $8.5 million.

Jackson, who soon turns 31 years old, spent last season with the Indians. In 318 plate appearances, he hit .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 46 runs scored.

The Giants have been on the hunt for a center fielder and Jackson addresses that need relatively cheaply. Jackson will join Hunter Pence and newcomer Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.