Braun hopes to return against Dodgers

Braun hopes to return soon

SAN DIEGO -- Ryan Braun experienced a modest breakthrough on Wednesday that left him hopeful he'll be able to play at home this weekend in Los Angeles.

Braun has been sidelined by strained muscles at the back of his ribcage since Saturday, when he had trouble getting loose before a game against the Nationals and then suffered the injury on an awkward swing in the first inning.

"It's definitely a lot better today," Braun said before the rest of the team took batting practice on Wednesday. "This is the first day I've felt significant progress."

That's a good thing, because without significant progress by the end of the week, the Brewers would be tempted to place Braun on the disabled list and promote another bat from Triple-A Nashville.

Braun's injury temporarily left the Brewers without any backup outfielders. That situation was resolved on Wednesday when Laynce Nix was brought up to replace injured infielder Russell Branyan, who strained his oblique muscle before the Brewers' series opener against the Padres.

"We want to wait as long as we can, because disabling him and losing him for a couple of weeks is not an ideal scenario," Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said on XM Radio's "Baseball This Morning" show. "If he doesn't come around in the next few days we're going to have to make a move on him. Obviously we're trying to avoid that situation because he's been so fantastic for us all year."

Braun, who started in left field for the National League All-Star team, is hitting an even .300 this year with 30 home runs and 84 RBIs.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.