MLB notes: Brewers' Ramirez closing in on return

Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is close to returning from a strained left...

Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez is close to returning from a strained left hamstring. (USA Today)

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, Last Updated: 10:03 PM ET

Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez took infield practice two straight days as he gets closer to coming off the 15-day disabled list.

Ramirez has been sidelined since May 13 with a strained left hamstring. He was eligible to return Monday but the Brewers would like him to go on a minor league rehab assignment before he's reactivated.

Should he exercise his right under the CBA to decline the assignment, he will likely participate in a simulated game at Miller Park sometime this week.

"He's really coming along well," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He hasn't had any setbacks. His BP is going really well. The last thing is getting his stride out a little longer and feeling like he can be in a game and extend when he needs to. We'll see. I don't know how long that's going to take."

Injuries to Ramirez and, earlier, right fielder Ryan Braun, forced Roenicke to make some changes to his lineup.

Braun returned to action a week ago but moved up one spot to No. 2 last Sunday. Centre fielder Carlos Gomez was moved from the top of the order into Ramirez's cleanup slot while shortstop Jean Segura was installed as Milwaukee's leadoff hitter.

In 34 games, Ramirez is hitting .252 with five home runs and 21 RBIs.

PADRES CAUTIOUS WITH QUENTIN

Carlos Quentin is free of the groin injury that sidelined him last week, but the San Diego Padres will continue to monitor his usage because of his long injury history.

What makes it difficult for manager Bud Black is Quentin's offensive capabilities.

"He's probably our most important bat," Black said. "He's our best offensive player."

Quentin was 1-for-4 with an infield single and a run scored in his second consecutive start in left field Tuesday, a 4-3 victory over Arizona.

"It truly is day-to-day," Black said. "We talk to all our players about their health, but with Carlos it is obviously more entailed.

"It's more the knee issues we have to monitor. It's more about the durability component and not pushing him to the brink of any setbacks. It won't be a situation where he is playing five, six days in a row. He will get a little break at times because of off days, designated hitter games."

Quentin, who has had right knee surgeries in each of the last two seasons, was 2-for-8 in the first two games of the Arizona series and was removed for defensive purposes late in both games. He is hitting .364 in nine games.

KEMP MOVES TO LEFT FIELD

Matt Kemp's extended break while transitioning to a new role is over.

The veteran Los Angeles Dodgers centre fielder started Wednesday's game against the Cincinnati Reds in left field after being held out of the lineup for five consecutive game.

On Tuesday, Kemp was limited to a pregame workout and an eighth-inning pinch-hit appearance during the team's 6-3 victory over the Reds.

The club is moving him to a possible platoon in left with Carl Crawford, a major come-down for the two-time Gold Glove winner who finished runner-up to National League MVP Ryan Braun in 2011.

"I thought he looked really good," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday. "Really, it's just a matter of him saying, 'Hey, I feel comfortable and ready to go.' From there, we put our guys in the lineup. It's how we do it."

For now, Kemp looks to play every day in left after Crawford sprained his left ankle in Tuesday's victory and was placed on the disabled list.

ROYALS' VENTURA TO SKIP START

An MRI exam on right-hander Yordano Ventura's sore right elbow provided the Kansas City Royals with some good news: no damage to his ulnar collateral ligament.

The Royals plan to skip Ventura's next start, which would have been Saturday at Toronto, but hope he will be able to return to the rotation after that.

Manager Ned Yost said Ventura would not throw for three days. Then Ventura will throw three side sessions before going back into the rotation.

"It's a precautionary skip," Yost said. "He's totally asymptomatic today, which means he doesn't feel anything, but as a caution I'll skip him one start, but I'm extremely confident."

The medical diagnosis was a "mild valgus extension overload," which happens when the elbow bones collide during a fastball delivery.

Ventura left with two outs in the third inning of a 9-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Monday night with discomfort in his elbow.


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