Braun exits with sore thumb; Roenicke worried

UPDATE: Braun just left the game in the bottom of the third inning. Updated information below. 

The Brewers removed left fielder Ryan Braun in the third inning Sunday because of soreness in his right thumb, the same ailment of which manager Ron Roenicke spoke with some urgency only a few hours earlier.

The Brewers were leading the Phillies, 4-0, when Braun abruptly exited. He struck out in the first inning and was replaced by Logan Schafer when that spot in the lineup came around again in the bottom of the third.

“We’ve got to figure out what to do there,” Roencike said. “We’ve got to start going in the right direction with him, and sometimes it’s not. … I’m hoping we don’t have to [place him on the disabled list], but we start making gains and he says, ‘Yeah, I feel really good today,’ and then all of a sudden it’s a bad day and a setback.

“We keep going this back and forth. He’s out there playing, hitting third for us, and I expect the Braun that I’ve seen for the last two years, and he’s not the same. He’s still getting hits, he’s still helping us win games, but he’s not that guy that can carry a team like I know he can.”

Roenicke said he had a plan for Braun on the upcoming, three-city road trip, which includes a pair of off-days between stops.

Braun, who has contributed at least 30 homers and 110 RBIs in Roenicke’s first two full seasons as Brewers manager, entered Sunday hitting .305 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs, a pace for 24 homers and 94 RBIs. He has been adjusting his swing to compensate for pain in his thumb, and was homerless in his previous 64 plate appearances.

That Braun’s power has been sapped was evident by the Brewers’ first-inning strategy Sunday. After Norichika Aoki took a walk from Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibine, Jean Segura popped out a bunt attempt and Aoki was caught trying to steal second base. Braun then struck out on a foul tip.


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