Thumb injury sidelines Brewers’ Braun

Add left fielder Ryan Braun to a Brewers injury report that has claimed the team’s three best power hitters, its best starting pitcher and its closer.

Braun was forced to sit out Monday with a nagging right thumb injury. With third baseman Aramis Ramirez on planned day off for his still-healing right knee, and first baseman Corey Hart still rehabbing from knee surgery, the Brewers were extremely shorthanded for the opener of a quick, two-game Interleague Series against the Twins.

“I hurt it two weeks ago, and I’ve just basically been dealing with it since,” Braun said. “We all deal with different things through the course of the season, and you try to compensate and do the best you can with with you’re dealing with. Anything with the hand is tough. I’ve basically been swinging with one hand for two weeks.

Over those two weeks, Braun batted .326 with five doubles, a home run and seven RBIs.

“I’ve changed the way I’ve held the bat, I’ve changed the way I’ve swung,” he said. “And it’s frustrating, because we’re not progressing. It’s not getting any better at all, so it’s just at the point where I need to take the time to get it close to being healthy so I can contribute and do the things I’m used to doing.”

On top of the thumb issue, Braun has been getting treatment all season for a persistent stiff neck.

He was not sure Monday morning how many days he would miss. The series opener with Minnesota marked the fourth of 20 games in 20 days for the banged-up Brewers.

The problem, Braun said, is that instead of getting better with treatment and various methods of padding the bat, the thumb has been getting “progressively worse.”

“I’m not going to swing a bat or do anything today,” he said, “so hopefully it gets better. I don’t want to put a timetable on it. Maybe I show up [Tuesday] and it gets a lot better.”

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