Aramis Ramirez injury: Brewers third baseman to return Friday

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Milwaukee third baseman will return to the lineup for the first time since landing on the DL while Yuniesky Betancourt will take over full time at first base.

Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez will return to the team on Friday. The slugger has been on the disabled list since spraining his left knee sliding into second base on April 5.

Ramirez, 34, has run the bases for two consecutive days, which was the final test in his rehabilitation, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Ramirez will not not go on a minor league rehab stint.

The notoriously slow starter got off to a scorching beginning to the season before going down with the injury. Through the first four games of the season he was hitting .385 with a 1.082 OPS and some timely hitting for the Brewers. Three of his five hits went for extra bases.

In his absence, the Brewers have been using a combination of Yuniesky Betancourt, Martin Maldonado, and Alex Gonzalez to cover their holes at the infield corners. First baseman Corey Hart has not yet made his season debut following offseason surgery on his knee. He is not expected to return until late May.

Betancourt, 31, has been the hottest hitter amongst the trio of replacements and is slated to play first base full time upon Ramirez's return. The infielder is off to a great start this season and is currently second on the team with six home runs. Playing on the corners has also been good for him defensively as he has been better able to hide his deficiencies with fielding range.

Infielder Alex Gonzalez will continue to serve as a utility player for the Brewers.

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