Braun named NL player of week
MILWAUKEE Capping a whirlwind seven days, Milwaukee Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun was named the National League’s player of the week Monday.
In the week that ended Sunday, Braun hit .480 (12 for 25), tied for first in the major leagues with nine runs batted in and tied for first in the NL with three home runs as Milwaukee went 4-2.
His 12 hits and 21 total bases also were tops in the NL, while his .840 slugging percentage and nine runs scored ranked second.
Braun, who singled in his first at-bat Monday, also has reached base in all 22 games for the Brewers. Robin Yount set the team record by reaching base in the first 23 games of 1983.
With Braun hitting third and Prince Fielder in the cleanup spot, Milwaukee already has gotten 40 RBIs out of the pair, which ranked first in the majors heading into Monday’s games.
Oh, and don’t forget the five-year, $105 million contract extension Braun inked with the club Thursday. Indeed, it was a memorable week for the 27-year-old.
“He’s very patient at the plate,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “He’s swinging at the pitches he wants to hit right now instead of pitches the pitcher wants to throw. And if they’re not going to throw him strikes, he’s going to walk.
“Right now, it’s a huge thing for this offense because Prince is hitting well behind him and Casey (McGehee) has driven in some runs. When you have that through a lineup, it adds up to a lot of runs.”
It was the third NL player of the week award for Braun, who last won it on Aug. 8, 2010.
It appears as if the Brewers will move even closer to full strength before their series finale with the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
Reliever Takashi Saito threw 20 live pitches before the game Monday, while rightfielder Corey Hart completed his rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Nashville on Monday, going 0 for 3 with a strikeout.
Barring setbacks, both could be activated off the disabled list by Wednesday, which would necessitate a couple roster moves.
Saito, who has been battling a left hamstring strain, would be worked back into the bullpen mix much like LaTroy Hawkins has been as he rounds into shape after right-shoulder surgery.
“I think that’s the way to go about it,” Roenicke said. “Again, sometimes the game changes to where it’s something you want to do but the game just doesn’t allow you to do it that way. You get an extra-inning game or you have to use somebody early to get out of a situation, next thing you know he could be right back in there.
“So ideally I’d like to take him a little slow and then move him back in there.”
Saito had opened the season as the setup man for closer John Axford. Kameron Loe has since taken over that role.
Hart, suffering from a left oblique strain, will be return to Milwaukee today.
““I don’t know if we’re going to activate him or not,” Roenicke said. “We’re going to talk about that.”
Right-hander Zack Greinke, fresh off his second rehabilitation start in Nashville on Sunday (2 2/3 innings, three hits, two earned runs one walk, two strikeouts, 54 pitches), is back in Milwaukee and will throw a bullpen session today before heading back to Nashville for another start Friday.
He’s expected to throw 70-75 pitches in that outing.
“The first two (innings) were good, and he threw a lot of pitches that last inning,” Roenicke said of Greinke’s Sunday start. “Velocity’s good (up to 94 mph).”