With only one plate appearance since May 1st and an MRI that revealed a flexor strain in his right forearm, Milwaukee Brewers star left fielder Ryan Braun may be headed for the DL, if he doesn’t show signs of improvement by Tuesday. There are several different scenarios that may play out in left field.
Ryan Braun returns and everyone is happy
Braun claims he’ll be back in the lineup after Monday’s off day. This would be the ideal scenario as it allows a player with a .950 OPS to come back into the Milwaukee Brewers lineup without having to make a roster move. A few guys at Triple-A will curse not being called up, and there are fewer at bats to go around for Hernan Perez and Nick Franklin, but this is the ideal scenario.
Braun doesn’t improve, but he continues to sit on the bench
Less than ideal as it forces players like Franklin and Perez into the lineup, but this could also open up opportunities for Jesus Aguilar to sneak into the lineup if Eric Thames is called on to play the outfield. After his red hot spring, Aguilar spent most of April watching Thames post elite-level production for almost an entire month. Aguilar has come off the bench in five of the last six games, and blasted a pair of homers over that stretch.
Braun needs a 10-Day DL stint, and the Brewers promote an outfielder from Triple-A
This would be more of a cameo for the Milwaukee Brewers outfield prospects than a long term look, but this could also make sense for the team. Lewis Brinson would probably be the most intriguing name to come up, but the Brewers would probably prefer to have him arrive when they know they can get him regular at bats, not just a cup of coffee. Kyle Wren and Brett Phillips are slightly less exciting, but would both generate some buzz if they were to get the call. The most likely option is that Kirk Nieuwenhuis would get the nod and return to the bench for a few games.
The strain turns out to be a tear and Braun is on the DL for the long term
This would be the worst case scenario and is very unlikely to occur, but this option would like result in a legitimate prospect getting an opportunity for a few months of full-time work at the Major League level. Brinson, Wren, and Phillips are the three most likely options, in that exact order. This would also guarantee that Braun would absolutely not be traded this season.
The Brewers will likely give Braun the off day on Monday, and then reevaluate on Tuesday morning. The good news is that the Brewers actually do have options to go with should Braun need to hit the DL, but it does appear that he should be back sooner rather than later.