Ryan Braun

The Brewers are optimistic about Ryan Braun’s thumb


Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that the Brewers are optimistic about Ryan Braun’s progress following his thumb procedure

“He has taken some batting practice off a pitcher,” said general manager Doug Melvin. “It’s not like he’s playing every day. You’re not going to get a good feel and judgment on it until then, when you’re playing every day, seven days a week, taking BP and all that. That’s the true test.

“But, right now, it sounds like everything is great. He’s just going to let it go through the normal healing process.”

It was a rough season for Braun, who battled through and inflamed nerve at the base of his right thumb, which impacted his ability to swing a bat. He finished with a career-low .777 OPS, doing worse than that in the second half.

Ryan Braun swings bat for first time since thumb procedure


Ryan Braun underwent a cryotherapy procedure on his ailing right thumb on October 2, but Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that he has already resumed swinging a bat.

While cryotherapy sounds like something out of “Terminator 2,” the procedure involved having a nerve in his thumb exposed to subzero temperatures with a needle. Braun has been dealing with the injury dating back to the early part of the 2013 season, so the hope is that it will allow him to grip a bat without pain again. There isn’t much of a track record of this sort of thing with baseball players, but this procedure isn’t as risky or invasive as removing the nerve altogether. So they’ll try this route first.

Braun struggled through the injury this season, finishing with a career-low .777 OPS. He had a .669 OPS during the second half.

Ever wonder why Hunter Pence throws so awkwardly?


Giants outfielder Hunter Pence has never looked graceful on the baseball field, but we’ve always chalked that up to him just being goofy. There’s actually a legitimate medical reason behind his awkward-looking mechanics, though, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports found out.

Pence, 31, told the FOX broadcasters before Game 1 of the NLCS that he has Scheuermann’€™s Disease, a spinal disorder that he likely developed as an adolescent.

The condition affects the vertebrae, and the way Pence described it, he has no flexibility in his thoracic spine.

“€œThat’€™s why he throws the way he does,”€ Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said. “€œHe has no rotation in the mid-spine.”

Nevertheless, Pence has consistently rated among the best outfielders in baseball since he broke into the majors in 2007. According to FanGraphs, only five outfielders have been more valuable than Pence (29.2 WAR) since the beginning of the ’07 season: Matt Holliday (42.1), Andrew McCutchen (33.9), Ryan Braun (33.1), Jose Bautista (30.7), and Jayson Werth (29.9).

Pence has reached base in all six of the Giants’ post-season games thus far.