Brewers Sunday: Ryan Braun nearing return

Barring any setbacks early this week, Milwaukee's Ryan Braun is likely to come off the DL fairly soon.

MILWAUKEE -- As Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun continues to progress in his return from an inflamed nerve in his right hand, his return date is getting easier to project.

Barring any setbacks in batting practice sessions Monday and Tuesday, Braun is likely to come off the disabled list for the four-game series in Arizona beginning Thursday.

While Braun may be ready to play before Thursday, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke wants to give the five-time All-Star a few days to get his legs under him before returning to the field. With Wednesday's game being an afternoon start, Thursday is the safe bet for his return.

"I know he's in shape, and he's doing all these things, but similar to spring training, just being out on the field for three, four, five hours, your body has to adjust to it," Roenicke said. "You are going to go through a little sore stage. If we can get him back before the All-Star break and let him play in some games and then use the break as kind of how you would recoup in spring training, that would be ideal."

If Braun does return for the series in Arizona, he wouldn't play all four games against the Diamondbacks and wouldn't play all nine innings in the games he did play in.

Hitting .304 with nine home runs and 36 RBI, Braun has been on the disabled list since June 14, but the nerve between his thumb and index finger has bothered him for the past few months.

Ramirez sits: A day after coming out in the sixth inning, Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is out of Sunday's lineup.

Sunday was a planned day off for Ramirez as he continues to battle through a left knee sprain. Ramirez dove for a ground ball in the fifth inning Saturday, but Roenicke said the knee was acting up before the dive.

"I don't know for sure, but I think he'll be OK Monday," Roenicke said. "He was going to be off today anyway. That didn't change."

The Brewers have discussed a number of options with Ramirez heading into the All-Star break, including placing him on the disabled list with the week of the All-Star Game eating up the majority of the 15 days.

As of now, Ramirez won't go on the disabled list, but the Brewers are strongly considering holding him out of the Arizona series to extend his break.

"That's the thing we've been talking about," Roenicke said. "We're trying to figure out what's best for him. How do we get this thing so it's better in the second half?"

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