Before his suspension last season, Ryan Braun was suffering through the least productive season of his career thanks to a nerve issue in his right hand. If there was any silver lining to the 65-game suspension, it was that the time off was supposed to allow Braun’s injury to heal without the need for surgery.
Three games into the season, Braun is revealing that the five-month layoff didn’t help. While the nerve problems made it hard for Braun to grip a bat last season, it sounds another problem now is with his fielding — he has numbness in his thumb that makes it hard for him to tell how hard he’s gripping the ball when throwing it, leading to “crazy bruises and blisters.”
For the time being, it looks like the Brewers are hoping controlled rest and pain management techniques keep Braun on the field, but if five months off didn’t help — something he’s called a “luxury” multiple times this spring — the fear is that surgery is somewhere on the horizon.
Braun is reluctant to get the surgery because apparently that isn’t guaranteed to fix the problem, either. No timetable was put on a recovery time if Braun did elect to go under the knife, but the implication is that it wouldn’t be a short stint on the disabled list.
He’ll serve as the DH today against Boston, but after this weekend, the Brewers won’t have the DH spot available until their next trip to an AL park in early June. If Braun needs regular time off and Khris Davis continues to struggle, only having one backup outfielder on the roster (Logan Schafer) could become an issue.