Weeks’ Return, Braun’s Batting Title Quest, More Plushdamentals, and Other Brewers Musings
By Curt Hogg
Because nobody really wants to read paragraph after paragraph besides, well, me, headlines surrounding the Milwaukee Brewers are posted here in the new “Brewers Musings” section along with just a little opinion spiced in by yours truly. Excited!?! Probably not, but I am. So open up those commodious brains to get the Brewers headlines.
Rickie Weeks Injury Update
As much as we loved Jerry Hairston Jr. (endearingly referred to Hairy Jerry in the Hogg household), the return of All Star second baseman Rickie Weeks in much-anticipated. Take that, National League.
Manager Ron Roenicke indicated that Weeks will be activated for the weekend series against the Phillies and will be available for limited pinch hit duties. Weeks ran bases Wednesday, a huge step forward after being placed on the DL July 28 after hurting his ankle over first base.
“If we activate him, it’s not activating him so he can play second base,” Roenicke said. “It’s activating him so he can bat, and if we get in a game where we’re up a lot or down a lot, maybe we can put him at second base for a couple innings. Something to ease him in.”
If I had to put on my Roenicke Cap and guess when Weeks will be back fully, my best shot would be for Saturday or Sunday in Cincinnati. One thing well known around the MLB is that the Brewers will be extra cautious with Weeks, wanting him back for the Playoffs.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Ryan Braun (.333) is only two percentage points behind Mets shortstop Jose Reyes for the batting title. Braun isn’t the kind of guy to let this chase get to his head.
“Certain people are motivated by stuff like that, and I think he’s one of them,” Dale Sveum said. “I don’t think it hurts. Sometimes it can hurt guys, but those kinds of achievements motivate Brauny. Just like last year.”
Not only is Braun in the chase for the batting title after a red-hot August in which he batted .369, but the Brewers All Star outfielder is one of the leading candidates for the National League MVP along with Matt Kemp, and teammate Prince Fielder. Braun could not have responded to his long-term contract any better than he has, posting career-best numbers.
As for the last time Braun hit under .300, you would have to back to may, when his scuffles at the plate were evidenced by his completely abysmal .299 average that only lasted one day. Terrible, right?
Plushdamentals In Full Swing
Nothing, not even the legendary Vin Scully’s words, could match Plush. Nothing.
Saturday night in Houston made Brewers and baseball fans alike strike the question of “Who needs Prince and Braun when you have George Kottaras?”
After his ground-rule double to Tal’s Hill in center field at Minute Maid Park sealed the cycle, the first in the MLB this season, the entire Brewers dugout erupted, with Kottaras responding with a Beast Mode celebration. I’m sure that wasn’t the only place clad with Brewers hats and jerseys that erupted, as nobody expected the Brewers backup catcher to accomplish this feat.
To put it in perspective, this season three no-hitters have been thrown, one of them by a legitimate MVP candidate. Only one player has hit for the cycle, and it came from the unassuming backup catcher for the Brewers. Milwaukee must just have a thing with backup catchers hitting for the cycle.
As has been said by too many people to quote simply one, sometimes you have to expect the unexpected. Just don’t expect George Kottaras to hit for the cycle, really.
Carlos Gomez Injury Update
Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez took a big step on Tuesday after taking full batting practice and slid into bases. This is the first time he has done so since fracturing his collarbone on July 20 in Arizona after making this phenomenal catch. (Skip ahead to 2:40 in the video)
With rosters expanding on September 1, Gomez insists that he will be back on the active roster by then, providing the Brewers with stellar defense and blazing speed. Whether or not that is true is to be determined, as he still has to be examined and complete a rehab assignment.
His DWAR (Defensive Wins Above Replacement)is a superb 1.1, especially considering he did not play every day and has missed a month. Gomez also has the higest Range Factor among all National League center fielders, further displaying his defensive abilities.
Rickie Weeks Injury Update
After Rickie Weeks hobbled off the field in July against the Cubs, it appeared that he may be gone for the season. But now, it seems that Milwaukee will have him back for the stretch run.
Weeks took ground balls today at Miller Park before the Brewers 2-1 victory. He wore a brace on the injured left ankle.
Ron Roenicke said there is no timetable for the All Star second baseman’s return. Hopefully, Weeks can return by early September at the latest.
The team has won 16 of their last 18 without Weeks
Hart’s X-Rays Come Back Negative
After being hit by a pitch on the left hand Saturday night against Houston, results on the injury have come back negative, much to the relief of Brewers fans. He is listed day-to-day, and Ron Roenicke has not said when he expect Hart to return to the lineup, although it is expected he will not be in the lineup in St. Louis. Hart is hitting .309 with 5 home runs since being placed into the leadoff spot.