PHOENIX -- When Ryan Braun next steps on the field, he will reach a statistical milestone. It will be his 1,000th game for the Brewers, making Braun the 12th player in franchise history to reach that milestone and the 18th active Major Leaguer with that many games with his current club. Teammate Rickie Weeks is on both lists.
"It sounds like a big number, yeah," said Braun, who debuted with the Brewers in 2007. "I've always said, anything like that you try not to focus on too much during the season. I think the focus is just on preparation, competing and helping us win games. All those types of things you kind of look back on in the offseason. But that does sound like a big number. It goes by really quick.
"I think longevity in this game in general is an accomplishment. People always say the challenging thing isn't making it to the big leagues; it's staying in the big leagues. So for anybody who accomplishes that kind of longevity, it's something to be proud of and looked back upon fondly for sure."
Braun was absent from the Brewers' starting lineup on Thursday as he continues to battle a batting funk. He entered the team's June 8 game in Pittsburgh batting .311, but dropped 25 points by going 6-for-42 over his next 10 games, including a tough-luck 0-for-4 on Wednesday night. It included two called strikeouts against D-backs lefty Wade Miley on pitches that were off the plate inside, and a flyout to the deepest part of left-center at Chase Field.
"It's just from at-bat to at-bat, we need to get him back and being that consistent guy who gives you the three good at-bats a game," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We're not there with him yet. We were for a while, he was swinging well for a while. Then all of a sudden, he lost it. Physically, it's part of the problem when he goes in a little bit of a funky stage, so that's why [Braun is out of the lineup] today. Part of the reason he's off is so we can get him back strong."
Both Roenicke and Braun said the rib-cage injury that landed Braun on the disabled list last month is no longer a factor. But he is still bothered from time to time by a nagging nerve issue in his right hand that dates to last season, plus the usual bumps and bruises common for everyday Major Leaguers.
"The nice thing about him is he has made the transition to right field and played a great defense for us," Roenicke said. "I didn't think that would happen that quickly. He has saved us a lot, and that's part of the reason I haven't wanted him out of right field and have been playing him a lot. That's part of the reason."
Asked whether he felt like he was still in a funk at the plate, Braun said, "Oh yeah, for sure. You guys have seen me often enough that you can tell. I feel OK. But that ball yesterday, if I hit that ball in almost any other ballpark, it's a homer. It's 410 feet to left-center.
"It seems like that's the way stuff goes when things aren't going well. Both of my strikeouts were on balls. Neither of those pitches were strikes. It happens; it's a part of the game. For me, when I typically get in trouble, I'm swinging at bad pitches. When I have the discipline to take that pitch, you should be rewarded for it. And when things aren't going well, they're called strikes. That's just kind of the way the game works."
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.