The Brewers will resume play on Monday after their entire weekend series was cancelled. They will do so down yet another outfielder.
It may have taken an extra three days, but the Brewers will finally get to have their home opener against the White Sox on Monday. This, of course, was after their originally scheduled home opener was cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Cardinals players and staff. Eventually the rest of the series would be cancelled as well.
Milwaukee will be playing that first game at Miller Park without a couple key veterans in their lineup, though. First, on Saturday, it was announced that center fielder Lorenzo Cain would be opting out of the rest of the season.
Then on Sunday, it was learned that the Brewers would be short another outfielder for different reasons. The team announced that fellow veteran outfielder Ryan Braun will be missing some time after being placed on the Injured List.
Braun had already battled some nagging injuries that kept him out of the Blue-Gold World Series during Summer Camp. But he was able to return in time to make the Opening Day roster and start the season opener versus the Cubs.
Playing primarily at designated hitter so far, Braun was one of a few Brewers off to a slow start with just three hits and a walk in 14 plate appearances in 2020. One of those hits was a huge one, though, as it was a game-tying, two-run double in the bottom of the ninth against the Pirates that helped spark the team’s second win of the season.
That double also seemed to spark Braun’s 2020 campaign. He had a hit and a walk in the second game of the Pirates series, followed by a pinch-hit single in game three. Now that momentum has been put to a halt while he recovers on the IL.
Since the absence of Cain leaves the Brewers short a regularly contributing outfielder, it would be logical to think that his spot on the active roster would be replaced by another 40-man outfielder like Tyrone Taylor or Corey Ray. With Braun, that doesn’t necessarily have to also be the case.
While it is true that Braun is listed as an outfielder on the roster, he was most likely to continue spending more time at designated hitter, a position at which the Brewers have plenty of options to backfill. That combined with the fact that Braun may only need limited time on the IL means the Brewers could go in pretty much any direction to fill his spot for a handful of days.
If the Brewers only decide to go with one member of the Taylor-Ray duo to replace Cain and Braun, a name to watch for could be Ryon Healy. The infielder looked impressive during Brewers Summer Camp and could provide insurance at first base if Logan Morrison had to be used in Braun’s backup outfielder role.
Hopefully Braun’s stay on the IL will be a short one. If the Brewers want to successfully navigate the unique 2020 season, they will likely need the presence of one of its most important veterans.