Ryan Braun rejoins the Brewers lineup batting fifth for the first time since 2008

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Ryan Braun has returned to the Brewers’ lineup after exiting Saturday’s game and then sitting out two straight games with back spasms. And in a little twist, manager Ron Roenicke has Braun batting fifth in the order.

Braun has hit exclusively second (37 times) or third (32 times) in the lineup this season and has a grand total of just three career starts in the fifth spot, all of them coming 2008.

Roenicke indicated that part of the reason for the change is that Braun has missed lots of time with injuries and he’d prefer not to have to juggle the top of the lineup constantly.

Braun has hit .291 with 11 homers in 69 games for an .853 OPS that would be the lowest of his eight-year career.

Report: Yankees could be in on Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado
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The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.

The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.

Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.