Thumb better, Weeks back in lineup

Weeks returns to lineup

MILWAUKEE -- Second baseman Rickie Weeks returned to the Brewers' lineup Wednesday after missing two starts with a hand injury. Two days felt more like two weeks.

"When you're not playing, period, I feel like I can't sit around, can't sit still," Weeks said. "I'm always moving around, going to the back to the batting cage, just to do something baseball-wise."

Weeks sprained his left thumb when he took a bit of an awkward swing during a fifth-inning at-bat on Sunday in Los Angeles and was later replaced by veteran Ray Durham, who played for Weeks as the Brewers' second baseman and leadoff hitter on Monday and Tuesday against the Astros.

With Weeks back in the lineup, Durham returned to a reserve role. That's how manager Ned Yost prefers to use the veteran Durham, who has experienced sore hamstrings this season that limited his playing time for the Giants. Before the Brewers made the trade for him just after the All-Star break, Yost said he spoke with Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who said Durham is best when he's used "two or three days a week."

Weeks made his 97th start on Wednesday and would need to start 19 of the Brewers' remaining 34 games to surpass his career-high 115 starts from last season.

Weeks entered Wednesday's game hitting .229 with 10 home runs, 36 RBIs and 72 runs scored this season. His .331 on-base percentage has been a matter of debate for those who question Weeks' fit as a leadoff man, but he's hitting .273 with a .369 on-base mark since the All-Star break.

While Weeks returned, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun remained sidelined by tight muscles in his back. Yost previewed Braun's absence on Tuesday, saying there was a chance he would rest again Wednesday and then take advantage of Thursday's scheduled off-day.

Braun has played in only three of the Brewers' past 11 games because of the injury. He took some swings in the batting cage on Wednesday and was available again to pinch-hit, according to Yost, and could return to the lineup on Friday against Pittsburgh.

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