After missing three games with a neck strain, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is back in Milwaukee’s lineup for Monday afternoon’s game against the Cubs.
Braun first felt the neck strain while working out prior to Friday’s game and it locked up during batting practice.
The decision to return Monday didn’t come until late, as Braun tested the neck during batting practice.
Braun’s return is a huge lift to a battered Brewers team. With Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart on the disabled list, Milwaukee was shuffling the lineup around without Braun.
Shortstop Jean Segura won’t play Monday because of the left quad contusion he suffered Sunday on a hard takeout slide by Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra. Alex Gonzalez will play shortstop Wednesday, Yuniesky Betancourt shifts to third base and backup catcher Martin Maldonado had to play first base.
Changing his mind? Brewers manager Ron Roenicke responded quickly to shoot down a question of making a change at closer following John Axford’s continued struggles Sunday.
Monday he told reporters at Wrigley Field that he plans to have a conversation with Axford on what the team’s plans are at closer.
Another injury: Roenicke revealed to reporters Monday that left-hander Chris Narveson injured the middle finger in his pitching hand and is unavailable.
With such a taxed bullpen, the Brewers will likely have to make some sort of move in the near future. That could be bumping fifth starter Mike Fiers to the bullpen because the team doesn’t need a fifth starter for some time because of three more off days in April.