Ryan Braun, who’s spent the past month on the sidelines with a thumb injury, is back in the Brewers’ lineup tonight against the Reds.
Braun played through the injury for quite a while before the Brewers finally decided to shut him down in early June. Milwaukee’s lineup still isn’t close to full strength, however, as Aramis Ramirez basically took Braun’s spot on the disabled list with a left knee injury.
Despite playing through pain for much of the season Braun hit .309 with nine homers and an .890 OPS in 57 games before the DL stint, including seven hits in his last 17 at-bats.
The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.
Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.
While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.