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06/25/08 12:58 PM ET
Braun won't let sore hand get him down
Minor injury could be cause of mini-slump over past week
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- A minor hand injury could be contributing to a rare -- and relative -- cold streak for Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun. Braun went 3-for-8 in Games 1 and 2 of a series in Atlanta that concluded Wednesday afternoon, but still entered the finale hitting .240 with two RBIs and 10 strikeouts in his previous seven games. Braun was hitting .256 this month, though he had contributed six home runs and 17 RBIs. He has been getting treatment for soreness in the meaty part of his right hand between his thumb and forefinger for about a week. Braun cannot trace the source of the injury, but believes he irritated a ligament on a swing during the Brewers' last homestand. "I'm just trying to get by right now until I get healthy," Braun said. "I feel OK, but not great. "The good thing is that everybody is contributing," he said. "It's not a case that I need to carry the team or Prince [Fielder] needs to carry the team. It's a lot easier when everybody is contributing and that's why we're winning games." Brewers manager Ned Yost wondered why anyone would think Braun -- hitting .287 this season with 20 home runs, 57 RBIs and a chance to start next month's All-Star Game -- was slumping in the first place. "He's an incredible, talented kid, but you can't expect him to get three hits every night," Yost said. "If he goes his little 1-for-4 with a single or a double, he's not having a little bump in the road." Braun said he is swinging the bat, "OK, but not great," and declined the notion that his ups and downs this season are related to the growing scouting report on him. "Anybody who brings that up as an excuse, I just don't get it," Braun said. "I think the scouting report is based more on individual pitchers' strengths. If you get guys who throw real hard, they'll probably challenge you with more fastballs. If you get finesse guys, they'll throw more off-speed pitches." Braun has not missed any time because of the soreness in his hand. He did leave a game for a pinch-hitter on June 19, when the Brewers had an 8-1 lead in the eighth inning. He has started every game since May 25. "Everybody has something. The hardest thing in this game is staying healthy," Braun said. "You just deal with it when things come up. The bottom line is that everybody deals with it and you have to make the most of it."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.