Ryan Braun has been absent from the Milwaukee Brewers’ scrimmages as of late, and we recently learned from Craig Counsell that he might miss Opening Day.
In recent years, injuries or working diligently to prevent any injuries have been a regular part of Ryan Braun’s seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. And at 36-years-old and entering his 14th Major League season, those aches and pains should be expected.
Braun is coming off a 2019 season where he appeared in 144 games, the most since 2012, and slashed .285/.343/.505 with 22 home runs and an OPS+ of 116. With a shortened 60 game season and the DH coming to the NL, these are two big factors that were expected to play into Braun’s favor in terms of keeping him healthy.
However, if you’ve been watching the Brewers’ Blue-Gold scrimmages and have noticed Braun not participating, he has been sidelined with an injury, and we recently learned from Manager Craig Counsell, that Opening Day is in jeopardy for him.
According to Counsell, it is Braun’s neck, back, and oblique that are giving him issues and when asked about his availability for the upcoming scrimmages and Opening Day, here is what Counsell had to say (via Adam McCalvy at MLB.com):
“So, I don’t know. We’re just going to have to wait and see how he responds today. We definitely need to have a day with marked improvement to be on track [to be active on the Opening Day roster]. And it also could be a scenario where he’s not ready for Opening Day, but he’s ready shortly after. That could be a scenario, too.”
With Avisail Garcia in right field, Justin Smoak at first base, and plenty of versatile depth around them, Braun was expected to be the primary DH this season for the Milwaukee Brewers. In his absence, we could see Logan Morrison take over that DH role or the switch-hitting Omar Narvaez, who has hit a few home runs as of late.
The good news is that it doesn’t sound like Braun is going to miss much time, and an IL stint may not even be necessary. But in a shortened season such as this one where every game is magnified, having Braun’s bat available and in the lineup as often as possible is a must.