Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun left in the third inning of this afternoon’s series finale against the Phillies due to a nagging thumb injury. He struck out in the first inning and was subsequently replaced by Logan Schafer in left field in the third. Braun hasn’t homered since May 22 against the Dodgers. To boot, he has just three doubles is hitting .254 since his last homer.
The thumb issue, which has been bothering Braun for the better part of two weeks, has manager Ron Roenicke worried.
Via MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy:
“We’ve got to figure out what to do there,” Roencike said. “We’ve got to start going in the right direction with him, and sometimes it’s not. … I’m hoping we don’t have to [place him on the disabled list], but we start making gains and he says, ‘Yeah, I feel really good today,’ and then all of a sudden it’s a bad day and a setback.
“We keep going this back and forth. He’s out there playing, hitting third for us, and I expect the Braun that I’ve seen for the last two years, and he’s not the same. He’s still getting hits, he’s still helping us win games, but he’s not that guy that can carry a team like I know he can.”
Roenicke said he had a plan for Braun on the upcoming, three-city road trip, which includes a pair of off-days between stops.
Aside from the recent power outage, Braun is otherwise having a great season, hitting .304 with an OPS just south of .900, which is about 40 percent better than the league average.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.