CHICAGO (AP) - The injury-riddled Milwaukee Brewers got Ryan Braun back on Monday after the slugger missed three games due to spasms on the right side of his neck.
Milwaukee waited to finalize its starters until Braun got a chance to take batting practice before the series opener at the Chicago Cubs. The 2011 NL MVP looked just fine in the cage, so Milwaukee put him back in left field and in his usual No. 3 spot in the batting order.
Braun received a round of boos when he came to the plate in the first inning at Wrigley Field.
While Braun returned to the lineup, shortstop Jean Segura was out with a bruised left quadriceps. Milwaukee also is missing third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who went on the disabled list Saturday with a sprained left knee, and first baseman Corey Hart, expected to miss the first month of the season recovering from right knee surgery.
"A lot going on," manager Ron Roenicke said. "It's not like we have pieces that we can just slip in and move chips around. Trying to figure out the pieces are difficult as well as moving those guys around."
Milwaukee had dropped five in a row since it beat Colorado 5-4 in 10 innings on opening day.
Segura was injured when Arizona's Gerardo Parra made a hard slide into his leg to break up a potential double play in the third inning of Sunday's 8-7 loss to the Diamondbacks. He tried to stay in the game, earning a loud cheer from the Miller Park crowd, but was replaced in the field before Arizona batted in the fifth.
"Sore, he's OK though," Roenicke said when asked about Segura's status. "It's a deep bruise. He may be available for the game today. Have him go through everything out here, see how it is."
Braun took batting practice Friday, but was scratched from the lineup and replaced by Khris Davis. He then missed losses to Arizona on Saturday and Sunday.
The matchup with the Cubs was the first road game for Braun since his name surfaced in records from the now-defunct Biogenesis of America LLC clinic alleged to have provided banned substances to several players.
After his name was connected to the clinic, Braun issued a statement in which he said he used the clinic's operator, Anthony Bosch, as a consultant in appealing a positive drug test that was overturned last year.
Braun also received an icy welcome when he was introduced before the game; as the best player on one of the Cubs' division rivals, it was not as if he was warmly received on previous trips to Chicago.
He singled and scored in the first and has at least one hit in each of his four games this season.
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