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Braun not concerned over hitting woes

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MILWAUKEE -- A day after the first four-strikeout game of his career, slumping Brewers slugger Ryan Braun offered a simple explanation.

"It's a hard game," Braun said.

He laughed, but he was serious.

"You go through phases where you don't swing the bat well or you don't see the ball well," Braun said. "It happens. You try to minimize those times."

He entered Wednesday's game against the Giants in the midst of one of those times. After going 5-for-8 in his first two games after returning from a neck injury, Braun was 1-for-17 with 10 strikeouts over his next four games. He matched his career high by striking out three times apiece Friday and Saturday in St. Louis and struck out four more times Tuesday.

The 10 strikeouts were the most of any four-game stretch in Braun's career and represented an unheard-of slump for a player who won National League MVP honors in 2011 and was runner-up to the Giants' Buster Posey in 2012. It raised concerns that Braun's neck, which locked up during the Brewers' opening homestand and cost Braun three games, was still an issue.

"My neck is fine now," he said. "It was [messed] up for a while. The first couple of games in St. Louis I'm sure it didn't help, but it's not an issue now. Nothing is physical. I'm fine. My swing just [stinks] sometimes."

It's also a matter of seeing the ball well out of a pitcher's hand, Braun said.

"Those two things kind of go hand in hand," Braun said. "When you see the ball well, it feels like your swing works better and is more efficient. When you don't see the ball well, you find a way to just miss pitches you should hit."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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