Brewers activate Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez to DL

The Brewers have activated Ryan Braun while sending Aramis Ramirez to the 15-day DL.

MILWAUKEE -- In a pair of surprise moves, the Milwaukee Brewers reinstated left fielder Ryan Braun from the disabled list and placed third baseman Aramis Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list prior to Monday's game against Cincinnati.

Braun, who has been out since June 14 with an inflamed nerve in his right hand, won't start Monday against the Reds, but he is available to pinch hit.

It was apparent Braun was progressing toward a comeback, but the Brewers had planned on that occurring later in the week. Instead, Milwaukee activated the five-time All-Star before he took his second on-field batting practice session.

"It's exciting more than it is a relief," Braun said. "Being on the DL was not something I enjoyed. It definitely made me appreciate the last six years having not spent time on the DL because it's a lot of long and boring days. I'm excited to be back, excited to be able to compete again and be able to contribute and hopefully contribute to some better baseball.

"It's not close to 100 percent, but we don't expect it to be close to 100 percent all year. As long as it's good enough, I'm thrilled about that."

The plan changed with Ramirez, as well. The Brewers planned to give him an extended All-Star break to rest his knee by holding him out of the four-game series in Arizona this past weekend. When it was evident he wasn't going to be able to play against the Reds, the club made the decision to put Ramirez on the disabled list.

Ramirez left before the sixth inning of Saturday's game against the Mets, making his disabled list stint retroactive to July 7. He will be able to come off the disabled list July 22, meaning Ramirez will miss at least three games after the break.

The move became more necessary than precautionary over the past few days, and Ramirez is fully on board with the decision.

"He's pretty sore," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's getting some patella tendonitis, that's starting to bark on him. We were going to the days in Arizona and probably not play him, but we just thought this would be a better way to do it."

Roenicke plans to ease Braun back into the swing of things, using him off the bench Monday before likely starting him Tuesday and giving him off Wednesday afternoon.

The plan is certainly not set in stone, as Braun's batting practice session Monday was just his second on the field since going on the disabled list.

"I'll defer to (Roenicke) and the training staff, but I think they'll listen to what I have to say and we'll kind of see how it feels," Braun said. "There's no specific plan as to when I'm going to play and exactly how much I'm going to play."

Braun started to sense his return was imminent when he took dry swings while the team was in Washington last week. Hitting .304 with nine home runs and 36 RBI, Braun was bothered by the nerve between his thumb and index finger for close to two months before he went on the disabled list.

Though he won't be close to 100 percent for the rest of the season, Braun isn't worried he'll do further damage.

"I don't think it would ever do any good to have a negative mindset like that," Braun said. "I feel optimistic we are in a good place, and it's felt good the past few days. That's what I anticipate moving forward."

While Milwaukee is helped by the return of Braun, its continued season-long run of tough luck continues with losing Ramirez in the process. The fact Ramirez is starting to experience patella tendonitis in the left knee he's sprained twice this season is the most concerning part.

Like Braun, Ramirez's injury has prevented him from producing the power numbers he's accustomed to, as he's hitting .271 with five home runs and 26 RBI.

"It's been a challenging year obviously for all of us health-wise," Braun said. "I'm just excited to be back out there, looking forward to competing again, looking forward to being able to contribute. Ultimately, whoever is out there is expected to have success and be able to compete and contribute to winning. Hopefully we start winning some more games."

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