Ryan Braun back in Thursday’s lineup

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After missing two straight starts due to a lingering right thumb injury, Ryan Braun is back in the Brewers’ starting lineup for tonight’s game against the Marlins.

Braun has been dealing with a nerve problem in his thumb dating back to the beginning of the season, but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said earlier this week that it has now morphed into a full-blown hand issue. It sounds like he’ll be evaluated on a day-to-day basis moving forward. The injury has cleared impacted his production at the plate, as he’s batting just .229 with seven homers and a .676 OPS since the All-Star break.

With Braun back in the lineup tonight, the Brewers have the hot-hitting Gerardo Parra in left field while Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Khris Davis is getting the night off due to a minor forearm injury. The Brewers begin play tonight at 75-71, 1 1/2 games behind the Pirates for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. The Braves are also 1 1/2 games back.

Ketel Marte shut down with back injury

Ketel Marte
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With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.

It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.

Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.

Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.