Brewers activate outfielder Ryan Braun from DL

Ryan Braun

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers have activated Ryan Braun from the 10-day disabled list after the outfielder was sidelined by a strained back.

Braun returns to a team that has lost seven straight and fallen three games behind of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central. He was hitting cleanup Saturday against the Dodgers and left-handed ace Clayton Kershaw.

Braun is hitting just .235 with 10 homers and 35 RBIs. Manager Craig Counsell says he expects Braun to improve after the outfielder had some bad luck at the plate in the season’s first half.

The banged-up Brewers are slowly getting healthier, with starting catcher Manny Pina returning from DL on Friday from a left biceps strain. Outfielder-first baseman Eric Thames (right hamstring) and starter Junior Guerra (right forearm) are among other key players on the disabled list.

Catcher Jacob Nottingham was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make room for Braun.