7/12/2013 1:29 A.M. ET
Aoki returns to lineup from elbow stiffness
By Tyler Emerick / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki returned to his customary spot in the lineup Thursday, batting first and manning right field after missing the club's last two games with a stiff left elbow.
"I don't know if he's 100 percent, but he feels good enough to play," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I think he's a lot better today."
Asked whether Aoki will need more days off in the future to make sure the elbow doesn't flare up again, Roenicke said, "No, I think he's good to go."
In his second Major League season, Aoki entered Thursday batting .298 with 18 extra-base hits and 45 runs scored.
Braun placed on bereavement list; Davis recalled
PHOENIX -- After resting the outfielder on Wednesday, the Brewers expected to have Ryan Braun back in the lineup Thursday, but due to a family medical issue, the outfielder likely won't play again until after the All-Star break.
The Brewers placed Braun on the bereavement list before the club's series opener in Arizona and recalled Khris Davis from Triple-A Nashville.
A stint on the bereavement list must last a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven, meaning the earliest Braun could return would be for Sunday's first-half finale, a possibility Brewers manager Ron Roenicke isn't sure about yet.
"Yeah, there's a chance he will miss the whole series," said Roenicke, adding that Braun texted him earlier in the day informing him of the emergency.
This latest obstacle for Braun comes just three days after the Brewers activated him from the disabled list. Braun went 1-for-3 in his first game back on Tuesday following a 26-game absence with a right thumb contusion.
Davis made the Brewers' Opening Day roster out of Spring Training, but collected just three hits in 16 at-bats in limited playing time during the first month of the season and was sent back to the Minors on May 1. The 25-year-old has hit .250 with 11 homers since joining Nashville.
Friday will be a homecoming of sorts for Davis, who graduated from Deer Valley High School in nearby Glendale, Ariz.
Gindl more prepared for second big league stint
PHOENIX -- Needing a player to fill the roster spot vacated by right-hander Johnny Hellweg, the Brewers recalled outfielder Caleb Gindl from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday, balancing the club's roster with 12 pitchers and 13 position players.
The promotion marked Gindl's second callup to the Majors this season. He appeared in 10 games for the Brewers in June, collecting five hits in 20 at-bats.
"It feels great, I've just been down there working hard and trying to get back," Gindl said. "It'll definitely be a lot smoother this time. The first time I didn't know what to expect, just walking into the locker room and stuff like that."
In his last 10 games with Nashville, Gindl hit .421 (16-for-38). The 24-year-old credited a lot of the success to the experience he was able to take away from his first stint with Milwaukee.
"After coming up here and going back down, everything there feels a lot smaller," he said. "I'm just more relaxed. I didn't think it'd be that way, but I remember walking on the field and thinking, 'Wow, this is so much different now.' I didn't know what they meant by that when they said the game is faster up here, but it definitely is. When you go back down, you can really see the difference."
Gindl struggled a bit defensively his last time in the Majors, committing two errors in nine chances, but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke doesn't think that'll be an issue now.
"He's a good defender, he knows, he has learned from it," Roenicke said. "We're all going to make mistakes, I feel confident in him. If he makes a mistake this time, it's just something that happens."
Hellweg was optioned to Class A Wisconsin after tossing 4 1/3 innings and allowing four runs against the Reds on Wednesday.
Estrada's throwing session pushed back
PHOENIX -- Brewers right-hander Marco Estrada tweaked his back and will not throw live batting practice Saturday at Chase Field as the club originally had hoped.
Still rehabbing from a strained left hamstring that has sidelined him since June 4, Estrada said he woke up and his back "locked up." The Brewers will be cautious with Estrada moving forward and make him work another side session before scheduling him to face live hitters.
"As far as I know, he needs to throw another bullpen then progress to what we thought he was going to do, throwing to some batters," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
In 12 starts for Milwaukee this season, Estrada is 4-4 with a 5.32 ERA.
• The Brewers signed left-hander Aaron Laffey to a Minor League contract late on Wednesday. Laffey made four appearances this season with the Mets, allowing eight runs in 10 innings, and one start with the Blue Jays, lasting 2 2/3 innings and surrendering two runs. The 28-year-old will be sent to Triple-A Nashville, where right-hander Hiram Burgos was just placed on the disabled list.
• Alfredo Figaro, Marco Estrada and Mat Gamel -- all rehabbing at the Brewers' Spring Training facility in Maryvale, Ariz., -- made appearances in Milwaukee's clubhouse at Chase Field on Thursday.
"It's probably good for both of us," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "For them to get back to this and feel like they are a part of it again, and for us, our medical staff gets to look at them for a few days."
• Honoring the 19 firefighters who lost their lives June 30 while battling a wildfire in northern Arizona, the Brewers hung a No. 19 jersey in their dugout at Chase Field on Thursday.
Tyler Emerick is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.