Ryan Braun is in the Brewers’ starting lineup for Sunday afternoon’s season finale against the Cubs, but as soon as that game ends he will begin prepping for surgery that will hopefully correct a nerve issue in his right thumb that has been a source of discomfort since the early part of the 2013 campaign.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes Sunday that Braun will travel to the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles on Thursday morning to have a cryotherapy procedure performed on the thumb by specialist Vernon Williams.
This procedure — which involves the freezing of damaged tissue — has never been performed on a thumb, but it’s been successful on other parts of the body and the Brewers and Braun feel like it’s worth a shot.
“When you can’t use your top hand as a baseball player, it drastically alters everything you do,” Braun told the Journal Sentinel this weekend. “I’ve tried to adjust; I’ve tried to find a way to deal with it the best I could. At times, I’ve been OK. But, for the most part, it’s been really difficult, really challenging and very frustrating.”
Braun is batting just .228/.295/.379 in 61 games since the All-Star break and .268/.325/.455 overall.
The 30-year-old outfielder is owed $107 million in guaranteed money through the 2021 season.
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.