Ryan Braun underwent a cryotherapy procedure on his ailing right thumb on October 2, but Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that he has already resumed swinging a bat.
While cryotherapy sounds like something out of “Terminator 2,” the procedure involved having a nerve in his thumb exposed to subzero temperatures with a needle. Braun has been dealing with the injury dating back to the early part of the 2013 season, so the hope is that it will allow him to grip a bat without pain again. There isn’t much of a track record of this sort of thing with baseball players, but this procedure isn’t as risky or invasive as removing the nerve altogether. So they’ll try this route first.
Braun struggled through the injury this season, finishing with a career-low .777 OPS. He had a .669 OPS during the second half.
The Indians activated shortstop Francisco Lindor in advance of their doubleheader against the Braves, the club announced Saturday. Veteran DH Hanley Ramírez has been designated for assignment in a subsequent roster move.
It’s a welcome change for the Indians, who lost Lindor to a right calf strain at the outset of spring training and saw his recovery timetable extended by a left ankle sprain during one of his rehab games. When healthy, however, the 25-year-old has been nothing short of spectacular. During his 2018 campaign, he received his third consecutive All-Star nomination and finished the season batting .277/.352/.519 with 38 home runs, 25 stolen bases, and a career-best 7.6 fWAR through 745 plate appearances.
Things haven’t gone nearly as well for Ramírez since he inked a minor-league deal with the club in late February. Although he managed to stay relatively injury-free during his first few weeks of the 2019 season, the 35-year-old infielder slashed an underwhelming .184/.298/.327 with three extra bases and eight RBI in 57 PA. Whether or not he’ll find another major-league gig this year remains to be seen.