Ryan Braun has essentially duplicated his MVP-winning numbers from last season and is batting .342 with multiple big hits this month, but he’s doing all that damage at less than full strength physically.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel spotted Braun “walking gingerly” in the clubhouse and manager Ron Roenicke admitted that he’s playing through “a couple of groin issues” and “going out there because he knows we need it.”
Braun missed some time with groin problems earlier this season and under different circumstances it sounds like he might sit out a few games now, but with the Brewers clawing their way back into the Wild Card race he’s unlikely to miss any action.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.