CINCINNATI -- Unwilling to continue playing a man down in the outfield, the Brewers placed right fielder Ryan Braun on the 15-day disabled list Saturday and activated another outfielder, Logan Schafer, from the DL.
Braun's assignment to the DL was retroactive to April 27, the day after he exited a game against the Cubs with a strained right rib-cage muscle. The Brewers waited a full week to see whether treatment would return Braun to playing shape, but with Schafer's return imminent from a strained hamstring and the realization that Braun needs several more days to recover, it made little sense for the club not to make the move.
Braun had never been on the DL in his career until last season, when he missed three weeks with a right thumb injury. Because his current DL assignment was backdated, he will be eligible for reinstatement beginning May 12, an off-day for the team. The Brewers host the Pirates the next day.
"Just looking at it from a long-term perspective, it made sense to try to get healthy now and not try to really force it and rush back," Braun said. "The difference could have only been a couple games. If we had really pushed it and things went really well, the earliest I would have played may have been maybe Wednesday, Friday, Saturday ... at that point it's only a couple days difference from going on the 15-day DL."
Braun has been throwing at 75 feet and has taken a few dry swings and also some off the tee. He will gradually progress to soft tossing and then will take swings on the field. Now that he knows the earliest date he could be activated from the DL, he can stick to a set schedule and not have to worry about trying to push himself to come back quicker.
"Doing it this way we're hopefully assured this will be gone when he comes back," manager Ron Roenicke said. "It makes sense to do it."
Braun was hitting .318/.591/.952 over 22 games at the time of his injury, one the outfielder labeled as "tricky," in that oblique strains have to be healed completely before a player can think about returning to game action. A premature return can cause the injury to worsen.
"We're headed in the right direction," Braun said. "If we weren't headed in the right direction I think we would have made this [DL] move immediately. It's definitely gotten better. It's challenging and working your way back from it, it's definitely something you need to be careful with it so you can completely get rid of it."
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.