Braun back for Brewers, 4th in NL All-Star voting
Ryan Braun has returned to the Milwaukee Brewers' lineup and if All-Star voting is any indication, he may be making his way back into the fans' good graces.
Braun returned for Tuesday night's game against the Chicago Cubs after missing two starts with an Achilles injury that has been bothering him for weeks, along with a strained right hip that caused him to leave Friday's game. Also Tuesday, Braun learned that he was fourth overall in NL All-Star voting in the first update released by Major League Baseball.
That's despite a tumultuous offseason that threatened to wreck his reputation, as Braun's potential 50-game suspension for a positive drug test was overturned by an arbitrator. Braun has received enthusiastic support from the majority of Brewers fans this season but has been booed at times on the road.
''It's not something I've ever given a lot to,'' Braun said. ''Like I said, I've always been appreciative of the support of the fans in All-Star voting. But beyond that, it's not something I think about too much day to day, that's for sure.''
Braun has 1,112,971 votes, trailing Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto and St. Louis outfielder Carlos Beltran in the National League. That indicates a potential dip for Braun, who led the NL in last year's voting - but only slightly.
Braun is more concerned about his nagging injuries than he is about his place in the voting.
''You always hope it goes away, but I think any injury you deal with during the season rarely goes away completely,'' Braun said.
And while Braun says he'll try to pick his spots when it comes to stealing bases to avoid undue strain, he doesn't want to completely cut out that part of his game.
''If they're giving me a stolen base, I feel like it's stupid not to take it,'' Braun said. ''They give us times on pitchers, and whenever a guy's 1.5 (seconds) or slower to the plate, I'm going to be safe 99.9 percent of the time. I'll try to pick and choose my spots, but I think it's an important part of my game, and our game, and there's even more emphasis on it when we lose a guy like Prince (Fielder), just because we've got to find a way to manufacture runs.''
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was out of Tuesday's lineup with a left quad strain.