Braun appears DL-bound

Brewers slugger Ryan Braun appeared bound for the 15-day disabled list after experiencing more of the same sharp pain in his right hand during batting practice Friday.

The session, Braun’s first swings in five days, were viewed as a last chance to avoid the DL for what the player has described as an inflamed nerve between his right thumb and index finger. He was removed in the third inning of Sunday’s game against the Phillies at Miller Park and sat out the Brewers’ entire three-game series in Miami, hoping the pain would quiet with some rest.

On one of his first swings behind the batting cage Friday, it was clear from his grimace it did not work.

“More of the same,” Braun said. “It basically has been the same for a while. Everything we have tried to get to the point where I can take a regular swing [has not helped. We’ve tried different wraps on the bat, different padding on the batting gloves. We’ve basically tried everything we can think of.”

The last resort would be Braun’s first-ever trip to the disabled list.

“The next step is something I don’t want to do,” manager Ron Roenicke said before those batting practice swings. “But if that’s the best way to do it, then we’ll do it. That’s why we want to see where he is today. If he’s really good, then we know where to go.”

And if he was not really good?

“We’ve talked about all the different things,” Roenicke said.

Braun has been dealing with pain near his right thumb for about a month, yet still entered the weekend among the National League leaders in slugging percentage (ninth, .509), on-base percentage (10th, .380) and OPS (10th, 890). He was batting .304 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs.

The conundrum for the Brewers has been this: Braun can play, and even swinging at 60-70 percent of full strength he can be a dangerous hitter. But is it worth perpetuating the injury over the entire season, or even making it worse?

With no signs of progress, it appeared club officials would answer “no” to that question. If Braun goes to the DL, Logan Schafer would continue playing regularly in left field and the Brewers would bring back either Khris Davis or Josh Prince from Triple-A Nashville.

EDIT: Or Caleb Gindl, who is also on the 40-man roster, batting .364 over his last 10 games and was a last-minute scratch from the Sounds’ lineup on Friday night.

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