MILWAUKEE — It was a sign Aramis Ramirez truly needed a day off when he didn’t fight manager Ron Roenicke’s decision to not included him in the lineup for Wednesday afternoon’s series finale with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Roenicke approached Ramirez about taking a mental break to try and clear his mind from the toll a 5-for-52 slump takes.
"He’s fighting himself," Roenicke said. "Physically he told me he feels good. So it’s just trying to get him to sit back and watch a game, knowing that he’s not the guy out there every time that has to stay and grind.
"I obviously could use him today in a key spot. But he’s fighting it. Been fighting it for a while. That’s what we have to figure out — whether the mental side is affecting his swing. He’s starting to do some things different with his swing now. So we’ll try to figure out what we need to do."
Traditionally a slow starter at the plate, Ramirez was hitting .347 on April 21. It’s been a struggle ever since, including having to overcome a bruised left elbow suffered when he was hit by a pitch in St. Louis.
"I just have to be better," Ramirez said. "Better pitch selection, better swings, better approach."
Ramirez hit three balls hard Monday night, but had three weak fly outs to right and a slow roller back to the mound Tuesday. That led Roenicke to approach Ramirez about taking Wednesday off, giving the veteran third baseman two consecutive days off with the team’s scheduled off day Thursday.
"The thing about last night and (Diamondbacks starter Josh) Collmenter, he’s different," Roenicke said. "Some guys, the deception he has, it doesn’t bother them and other guys it’s really hard for them to pick up the ball. Maybe it was just that; I don’t know. But he got some pitches to hit, and Rami does not usually miss fastballs, the good pitches to hit. That may have added to the frustration."
Khris Davis was out of the lineup Wednesday for a similar reason. The young outfielder has five hits in his last 33 at-bats and is hitting just .233 on the season with only one walk and 35 strikeouts. Davis homered and doubled in Sunday’s loss in Cincinnati, but has gone 0-for-7 since.
"He’s off and on, too," Roenicke said. "He’ll have a really good game and I think he’s going to bust out of it and then he gets back into it again. I think he’s a little better overall than he was, say, a week ago. But the game that he hit the homer and he doubled down the line later, I thought, âOK, we’re going to get back to the guy that’s hot again.’ "
Braun on the mend: Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun took batting practice on the field prior to Wednesday’s game and appears on track to return from the disabled list when the Brewers begin a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.
Braun hasn’t played since leaving Milwaukee’s 5-3 victory on April 26 with a strained right oblique. He was placed on the disabled list on May 3, retroactive to April 27. Hitting .316 with six home runs and 18 RBI, Braun will be a welcome addition back to the middle of the lineup.
"He says he feels good," Roenicke said. "He hit yesterday in the cage again and felt good. He thinks he’s going to be ready on time."
His return could coincide with Carlos Gomez’s suspension, as the centerfielder has his appeal set for Friday. The Brewers expect a ruling to take a couple of days, meaning any kind of a suspension would likely be served against the Pirates, the same team the incident occurred against.
Pirates outfielder Travis Snider and catcher Russell Martin had their appeals heard Tuesday, and it is unknown whether Major League Baseball will try to time suspensions for both teams at the same side.
"To do this right, if they have days, is to do it the same days as Gomey, if we are playing each other," Roenicke said. "The way it wouldn’t work for me is if they serve theirs before the series and then we play against them and Gomey has two or three days. If the issue is with them, why would we play them without a player?"
Henderson update: Brewers reliever Jim Henderson is likely to need more than the minimum 15 days on the disabled list to recover from inflammation in his right shoulder, according to Roenicke.
Henderson is eligible to return May 17 but will likely go out on a rehab assignment before returning to the big-league club.