Ryan Braun is hurting right now

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Ryan Braun returned to the Brewers’ lineup last night against the Pirates after sitting out Thursday’s game with tightness in his right Achilles tendon, but he’s still hurting.

Braun aggravated his Achilles and strained his right hip after after legging out a hit and stealing second base in the sixth inning. He stayed in the game at first, but was eventually replaced by Norichika Aoki in left field in the eighth inning.

According to the Associated Press, Braun acknowledged that he’s risking further injury by attempting to stay in the lineup, but he also made it pretty clear that he has no plans to take a break.

“The danger in trying to play through an injury constantly is it’s easy to re-irritate it,” Braun said. “Your body also compensates so it’s easy to hurt something else. I don’t think it’s too bad, but it doesn’t feel too good right now.”

“Pretty much any injury you have during the year doesn’t go away when you play every day,” Braun said. “The only way to get healthy is to take time off and it’s not something I’m really interested in doing.”

Braun went 1-for-3 last night and is hitting .310/.394/.603 with 14 homers, 36 RBI, 11 stolen bases and a .998 OPS over 49 games this season. While he hasn’t skipped a beat amid the controversy of his overturned PED suspension, the Brewers will enter play this evening 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Reds in the NL Central at 23-29.

UPDATE: Braun is not in tonight’s lineup.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.