The morning after he exited a Spring Training game with a rib-cage strain and sent word through a club spokesperson that he was “fine,” Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said it himself.
Actually, he’s not just fine. He’s feeling better than ever.
“It’s nothing at all,” Braun said. “I could have played [Saturday] but there’s no sense in it. Honestly, I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life, so I don’t really need at-bats right now. There’s no doubt in my mind I’m better than I’ve ever been at baseball, so nothing positive comes from the rest of these Spring Training games. I don’t need at-bats. I feel great. So there’s no reason to take a chance right now.”
Braun tweaked his ribcage when he ran into the outfield wall during fungo drills on Saturday. He impacted the padded wall with his right side and felt some discomfort on his left, and departed the team’s afternoon game against the D-backs as a precaution.
The club called it an intercostals strain, referring to the small muscles between the ribs. Braun was previously scheduled to have Sunday’s game off, and said he expected to return to the lineup on Monday against the Giants. Tuesday at the latest, he said.
Braun understands why his early departure on Saturday sparked some panic. The Brewers have already been bitten by injuries to starter Zack Greinke (ribs), right fielder Corey Hart (ribs), catcher Jonathan Lucroy (finger) and reliever Manny Parra (back), and Greinke will be on the disabled list for Opening Day.
“I get it,” he said. “But I promise you, I’m fine.”