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Ryan Braun gets planned day off as Milwaukee Brewers take cautious route with slugger

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CHICAGO - Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun was out of the starting lineup for the Brewers' game against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, leaving the NL Central leaders without three of their best players.

Braun was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday after he was sidelined by a right oblique strain. The 2011 NL MVP played in three straight games against Pittsburgh, and manager Ron Roenicke decided to rest him on Friday.

Braun, who is batting .316 with six homers and 18 RBIs in 25 games, did not make a rehab start before he rejoined the team.

"It's never a good situation when you have a guy, especially with an oblique to not have that rehab assignment," Roenicke said. "You're going on what the player tells you. If he comes out and feels it again, you're in trouble. So that's why we try to take it easy so we're really protecting ourselves throwing him right out there and something happens and he's right back on the DL again."

Roenicke also said he hopes Carlos Gomez will be able to play Saturday. The centre fielder is nursing a sore back while serving a three-game suspension for his role in a benches-clearing brawl April 20 in Pittsburgh.

"Today is not quite as good as yesterday so I don't know what's happening again," Roenicke said. "He hurt it sleeping, just in bed too long or whatever. So I don't know if he just has to be careful with what he's doing especially when we go on the road with different hotels and beds."

Logan Schafer got the start in centre against Chicago, and Elian Herrera replaced Braun in right.

Milwaukee also was without third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who was placed on the DL on Tuesday with a strained left hamstring. Ramirez is batting .252 with five homers and 21 RBIs on the year.

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