Groin issues won't keep Braun from stretch run

Groin issues won't keep Braun from stretch run

WASHINGTON -- After a rough slide into home and a stolen base on Friday night, Ryan Braun is dealing with a couple of groin issues, manager Ron Roenicke said Saturday.

The rigors of playing 19 games in 21 days this month also hasn't helped, and Roenicke said Braun was "just OK" entering the second game of a four-game series with the Nationals. Braun finished Friday 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the 4-2 win, though a play at the plate in the fourth inning and a steal in the ninth left him with a slight limp after the game.

Braun wasn't available in the Brewers' clubhouse before Saturday's game, though Roenicke said if the team "plays it smart" with Braun, he shouldn't miss any time.

"He's going out there because we know we need him," Roenicke said. "But he's a little sore today, but he wanted to go out there again."

Only 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals for the National League's second Wild Card spot entering Saturday, the Brewers clearly can't afford to lose Braun. After enjoying an off-day on Monday before resuming what is a 10-game road trip, the Brewers are playing every day until the regular season ends on Oct. 3.

But in noting the time missed by some of Milwaukee's key players, including Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez, Roenicke pointed out that the Brewers' depth and resiliency have proven critical in their MLB-best 15-4 record in September entering Saturday.

"We've played so well for so long, and in different areas," Roenicke said. "Corey goes down for a while, and [Travis] Ishikawa comes through with some big hits. [Ramirez is] out for a day or two, and we fill in there. The guys are picking it up. The guys on the bench have done a nice job."