Last Call: Braun, hitless in camp, returns to lineup Thursday

Brewers slugger recovering from October thumb procedure

Last Call: Braun, hitless in camp, returns to lineup Thursday

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Last Call is a spot for all the notes and anecdotes from Brewers camp that didn't find a home elsewhere on the site. Today: Back-to-backs for Braun.

• Here comes the next test for Ryan Braun and his repaired right thumb. After taking Wednesday off, he's expected to play consecutive days for the first time this spring -- on Thursday against the Giants and Friday against the D-backs at Maryvale Baseball Park.

Braun is still seeking his first hit. He's 0-for-12 with three walks and five strikeouts.

"I would prefer him going out there getting hits, but the swings are better lately," manager Ron Roenicke said. "Early, I didn't like the swings too much. The [batting practice] has been real good. I think that's going to carry over and we'll start seeing it in some games."

Braun had a procedure in October to freeze a troublesome nerve near the base of his right thumb. He continues to report no pain.

"Everything is good," Roenicke said. "You can tell the way I've been playing him. We're going pretty slow with him. He's always been a guy who hasn't needed a lot of at-bats in Spring Training, and I think with where we are with everything, there's no reason to force him into playing a ton."

Braun ready for bounce-back year

• Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was also absent Wednesday for what Roenicke characterized as a family matter and "nothing bad at all." Ramirez should be back in the lineup Thursday.

Francisco Rodriguez is on line to face hitters for the first time on Friday, when Brewers Minor League affiliates begin their Spring Training schedule. Both of Milwaukee's Class A affiliates play at Maryvale Baseball Park that day; the Triple-A and Double-A squads are on the road.

• A small but significant development for Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy in Wednesday's game against the Royals: In the third inning, Lucroy tagged from second base and successfully made it to third on Adam Lind's flyout to left-center field. Lucroy missed time earlier in camp with a strained right hamstring and had been taking it easy on the bases.

• Shortstop Jean Segura turned 25 on Tuesday, and from the looks of a photo posted to Carlos Gomez's Instagram, he had a star-studded birthday party. Besides teammates Gomez and Wily Peralta, the gathering included All-Stars Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz:

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for 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.