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Brew whew

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McClatchy Tribune
March 27, 2009
— The Milwaukee Brewers received some measure of comfort Thursday when an MRI revealed no structural damage in the ailing right side of leftfielder Ryan Braun.

Now, the Brewers and Braun know for sure that he has nothing more than tightness in his intercostal muscles on that side. No cracked rib, no tears of any kind.


“It’s pretty much what the player and the doctor from last week told us,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said. “We didn’t think it was anything serious but any time a player continues to have stiffness, you want to get to the bottom of it.


“The MRI certainly gives us some comfort. We know it’s nothing structural.”


Braun was listed as “day to day” with tightness of the intercostal muscles that wrap around the ribcage. He was not allowed to swing a bat Thursday, either in the morning workout or the exhibition game against Texas.


Ash said it remained to be seen when Braun would be allowed to play again. There’s no guarantee the tightness will completely dissipate, even with an extended period of rest.


The Brewers open the season April 7 in San Francisco, and Ash said the problem did not appear serious enough to prevent Braun from getting ready to play.


“He’ll get his treatment and we’ll see how it goes,” Ash said. “He doesn’t seem to be concerned about it.


“You’d like to get (the tightness) out 100 percent. You try to balance between that and him getting ready to play. He has to be the guy to tell us when he feels ready to play.”


In his first game back from the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday, Braun exited after walking in each of his first two at-bats. Braun took treatment that morning and participated in batting practice and said he was good to go.


Braun said he saw no need to be examined by a team doctor before playing in that game. He sat out two games in the second round of the WBC because of intercostal tightness but was cleared to play in the semifinals and reported no problems.


“It was a non-issue in my opinion,” Braun said. “I had contact (with team trainers) every day, twice a day, when I was gone until I got back.


“They looked at it and heated it up and every thing, but I didn’t need any extensive tests. It wasn’t negligence on the (team’s) part or anything like that. I didn’t think I needed to be (examined). They’ve been great about that.


“You don’t want to be in the training room unless you have to. I try to stay out of there. I think they’ve handled it great.”


Ash said an MRI also was performed on reserve infielder Craig Counsell’s ailing right knee. Counsell has been bothered by swelling in the knee but couldn’t trace it to any one action in a game.


“From the MRI, you couldn’t tell what was new from what was old,” Ash said. “The decision was made to continue to treat it and see how it responds. If the swelling doesn’t go down, we might need to do another test.”


The report on injured closer Trevor Hoffman (oblique strain) was that he continued to make slight progress, but not enough to set a date for him to begin throwing again. At this point, there’s a very real chance that Hoffman will open the season on the disabled list.


Ash said any player who begins the season on the disabled list must sit out a minimum of six days, meaning Hoffman would miss the Brewers’ first four games. The season begins two days before the Brewers open in San Francisco.



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