Ryan Braun takes BP, hopes to return before break

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun swung in the cage Friday for the first time since landing on the disabled list with an inflamed nerve in his right hand.

Braun plans to take batting practice on the field prior to Saturday’s game against New York, then hit again in the cage Sunday and then hit on the field again Monday.

While the Brewers are still a few days from knowing where Braun stands, the five-time All-Star at least seems to have a chance to return before the All-Star break. Just a few days ago, Braun was destined to sit at least until after the Brewers returned from the break.

“He’s feeling really good,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “He’s going to get after it the next few days and see where we are.

“He’s kind of chomping at the bit, so he’s feeling that good. We’ll see how close he is to being ready.”

On the disabled list since June 14, Braun took 50 swings in the cage Friday. He previously had been taking dry swings on Milwaukee’s last road trip, sometimes experiencing soreness right after swinging and sometimes feeling it the next day.

“We’re progressing, heading in the right direction,” Braun said. “The soreness isn’t going to go away. This isn’t something we’re dealing with where it’s going to go away, but we’re heading in the right direction.

“(This was) definitely progress. It was as good as I could hope for it to feel.”

The nerve bothering Braun sits between his right thumb and index finger, hampering him when he swings the bat. The injury bothered Braun for at least a month prior to going on the disabled list, limiting his power.

While Braun is hitting .304 with nine home runs and 36 RBI on the season, he hadn’t homered in 65 plate appearances before going on the disabled list.

When the All-Star rosters are announced Saturday, Braun is expected to be left off the National League squad for the first time since his rookie season of 2007.

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