McCutchen in, Braun out for All-Star Game

Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun is out for Tuesday’s All-Star game because of a lingering strain in his left calf.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he had a discussion with Braun and trainer Roger Caplinger to reach the decision. Braun was disappointed he has to pull out after being the NL’s top vote-getter, but didn’t want to risk aggravating the injury.

”This whole process has been weighing risk versus reward because it’s not an overly painful thing, it’s just the danger of the area where the injury is, re-irritating it and making it a lot worse, which is something we want to avoid,” Braun said Saturday before the Brewers took on the Cincinnati Reds. ”We’re trying to take it step-by-step.”

The Brewers came into play Saturday night in first place in the NL Central and Braun is likely only available to pinch hit in Sunday’s finale with the Reds. Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen will replace Braun on the NL roster.

”The situation our club is in, too, is taken into consideration. He’s very appreciative of the fans,” Melvin said. ”He still wants to be there and support teammates and things like that. It just doesn’t feel where it’s 100 percent.”

Melvin said Braun will go to the All-Star festivities, but would’ve been required to play three innings instead of taking a bench role to stay on the team, precipitating his decision. Braun will be re-evaluated before the Brewers start the second half of the season with a four-game series in Colorado on Thursday.

”Ryan felt and we obviously felt that the best thing is to make sure he doesn’t aggravate it and get ready for the second half,” Melvin said. ”He didn’t feel comfortable to the point of going out there and giving that 100 percent.”

If Braun still isn’t ready for the start of the second half of the season, he could be retroactively placed on the disabled list and return only a few days later since he was hurt a week ago in Minnesota running the bases.

Braun said that the plan had been all along for him to miss a week after hurting a tendon connecting the calf muscle. Tests earlier in the week showed no damage.

”I knew I wasn’t going to play today a week ago,” Braun said. ”Once you’re out for a little while it’s a progression that you have to go through as far as steps to take. I hadn’t swung or done anything for a while, so then I had to hit off a tee, then soft toss, then play catch. Now today’s the first day I’m going to be allowed to take some batting practice, take some fly balls and attempt to jog for the first time in five days.”

Braun is hitting .320 with 16 homers, 62 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 83 games. He’s also carrying a career-high 22-game hitting streak, his third double-digit hitting streak of the season and third-longest in franchise history.

”There’s been a bunch of guys that have pulled out,” Braun said. ”It’s unfortunate for baseball, obviously you want all those guys to be there and be a part of it, but injuries are also part of the game and sometimes unavoidable.”