Ryan Braun back in Brewers’ lineup and hitting second

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Ryan Braun left Thursday’s game with tightness in his right side, a concerning development after his recent DL-stint due to an oblique injury, but Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that he’s back in the starting lineup this afternoon against the Marlins.

Interestingly, Braun will hit second today. This will be the first time that he has batted anywhere other than third since September 10, 2010. It’s unclear whether Brewers manager Ron Roenicke plans to keep him there for an extended stretch, but many believe that teams should employ their best hitter out of the No. 2 spot. It should be an interesting situation to watch.

Braun, 30, is batting .289/.328/.529 with seven home runs and 19 RBI over 31 games this season.

Tony Clark: Universal DH ‘gaining momentum’ among players

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Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.

One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.

“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.

Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.

Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.

Anyway, enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.