Ryan Braun still battling left calf and hamstring issues

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Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun pulled himself out of the All-Star Game this year after sitting out for eight consecutive days to close out the first half due to tightness in his left calf and hamstring. Those leg problems have not gone away.

According to Nick Kosmider of MLB.com, the Milwaukee slugger made an early exit from Saturday’s 8-7 victory over the Rockies after feeling renewed discomfort in both his calf and hammy.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke assured reporters that Braun has not suffered a new injury, nor a major setback, and that he could return to the starting lineup for Sunday’s series finale at Coors Field.

“His leg just never loosened up much,” Roenicke said. “It just stayed sore on him, and instead of pushing him and keeping him out there, we decided it was better to get him out.”

Braun, however, painted a slightly different picture in his Saturday chat with scribes:

“I can’t run yet, to be honest with you,” he said. “I can’t run yet at all. I’m unable to run, so I just jog as quickly as I can whenever the situation warrants it. Whenever I can avoid running or putting any extra stress on it, I think that’s in my best interest and the team’s best interest.”

Braun, 27, went 0-for-3 on Friday and 0-for-3 on Saturday but still has a sparkling .947 OPS on the season.

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UPDATE, 12:23 PM: No surprise here. Braun is not in the Brewers’ starting lineup on Sunday afternoon.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.