PHOENIX -- Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is looking forward to swinging for the fences at Yankee Stadium. First he has to shake a right hand injury, and then he has to formally make the National League All-Star team, of course. But assuming Braun does make the cut when rosters are unveiled on Sunday, he is looking forward to participating in the State Farm Home Run Derby on July 14, the day before the All-Star Game. "If I'm invited, I'll do it for sure," Braun said on Wednesday. "I think you owe it to the fans. If you're lucky enough to be invited, I think you should do it."
Wednesday was the final day for fans to vote for the All-Star starters, and Braun and the Cubs' Kosuke Fukudome were in a heated battle for the third and final NL outfield spot. But Braun could not make a last-minute push on the field because he was out of the Brewers' starting lineup Wednesday night. He was sidelined because he was slumping and hurting, hitting .186 with no home runs and three RBIs in his past 10 games including a current 0-for-18 drought while nursing soreness in his right hand. Braun injured his hand on the Brewers' last homestand -- he doesn't know how -- and on Wednesday emerged from the trainer's room with a blue wrap around his wrist. Braun did not participate in batting practice. Brewers manager Ned Yost would not commit to whether Braun would be back in the lineup for Thursday's series and 10-game road trip finale. The Brewers were 4-4 on the trip entering play Wednesday night and were scheduled to face D-backs ace Brandon Webb on Thursday. "I think it makes sense to rest it now and make sure it doesn't become an injury that lingers later," Braun said. "We're trying to eliminate some of the pain and the swelling and the inflammation now so it doesn't become a nagging injury." Braun has started 81 of the Brewers' 84 games this season. He'll need healthy hands to make a run in the Derby, one of the signature events of All-Star Week. Entering Wednesday's games, Braun was third in the NL with 181 total bases, tied for fifth with 20 home runs and tied for eighth with 58 RBIs. Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder took part in last year's Derby and didn't make it past the first round, where he hit three homers. Brewers players sometimes play "home run derby" in batting practice, but Braun prefers to hit line drives. "I'm not really a home run guy during BP," Braun said. "But once I get out there, I'll give it everything and I think I'll be OK. It will be fun, that is for sure. Hopefully I'll get to find out."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.