Ryan Braun placed on bereavement list

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Just three days after returning from a right thumb injury, Ryan Braun has been placed on the bereavement list due to a family medical issue. The Brewers will announce a corresponding move after tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks, so they’ll play short-handed in the interim.

Braun is permitted to be on bereavement leave for a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven. The Brewers have four games left before the All-Star break, which means he’ll be eligible to return on Sunday. However, it’s not clear if he’ll be ready to return by then.

Braun was activated from the disabled list Monday and went 1-for-3 in his return to action on Tuesday before sitting out yesterday. The 29-year-old outfielder is batting .304/.380/.507 with nine home runs and 36 RBI in 58 games this season.

Brandon Morrow shut down for the rest of the season

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Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.

It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.

Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.

Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.