Brewers Wednesday: Caution is key with Aoki, Braun

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Norichika Aoki is out of the lineup for the second straight day with left elbow tightness. 
Scratched from the lineup just before Tuesday’s game against Cincinnati, Aoki is expected to return for Thursday’s series opener in Arizona. 
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Aoki had made progress since Tuesday, but not enough where playing Wednesday was an option.
“He’ll be available to do some things later in the game,” Roenicke said. 
Logan Schafer, who hit his first career home run after being added to the lineup Tuesday, is starting in right field again Wednesday. 
Part of the plan: With the afternoon game following a night game, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun was held out of Wednesday’s lineup as he eases his way back from nerve irritation in his right hand. 
Braun went 1-for-3 and was lifted in the sixth inning in his first start Tuesday after missing 26 games dealing with an irritated nerve between his thumb and index finger.
“He feels pretty good,” Roenicke said. “I (would use him) certainly to pinch-hit (Wednesday). I don’t know about the outfield. I feel good pinch-hitting him.”
Roenicke wouldn’t commit to how much Braun would play during the four-game series in Arizona, but he couldn’t see the five-time All-Star playing more than two of the games. The plan is to start Braun on Thursday in the series opener and see how he reacts.
“It will probably change depending on how the game goes,” Roenicke said of his plan. “I don’t think I’ll start him three games there, but he may after that first one say ‘I feel great.’ If he feels great, then maybe we do it.”
Moving forward: Brewers right-hander Marco Estrada is making progress as he attempts to return from a left hamstring strain.
Estrada, who is rehabbing at Milwaukee’s spring training facility in Phoenix, has felt better after recent bullpen sessions and is ready to move forward to a live batting practice session.
Milwaukee’s rookie team based in Phoenix has Saturday off, so the Brewers will bring a few players over to Chase Field to hit live against Estrada. If all goes well, Estrada will head out on a rehab assignment in the near future.
News of his progression is a positive sign, as Estrada was in a holding pattern after being removed from a rehab assignment after having the hamstring tighten up during the third inning of a start for Single-A Wisconsin. 
Though to be progressing ahead of Estrada, right-hander Alfredo Figaro will not return before the All-Star break. Initially believed to have a chance to be activated from the disabled list for the Arizona series, Figaro is still feeling the injured right oblique when he throws. 

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