Although Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich hasn’t appeared in a game since Sunday, the team doesn’t seem overly concerned about his ailing back. Manager Craig Counsell said Yelich began baseball activities Thursday and is “making progress,” per Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Counsell likened Yelich’s current back ailment to the ones that he dealt with in previous seasons, noting that the former MVP didn’t require an IL stint in those cases and was able to return within a few days.
- Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader is 10 to 14 days from being a “full go,” manager Mike Shildt told reporters (including Katie Woo of The Athletic) on Friday. The Cardinals have been without Bader since he suffered a forearm injury in late March, mostly leaving center to Dylan Carlson thus far. Meanwhile, right-hander Miles Mikolas threw a second “aggressive” bullpen and is making favorable progress, according to Shildt. Mikolas didn’t pitch at all last season as he recovered from surgery on his flexor tendon, and he suffered a shoulder injury in the first half of March that has stopped him from taking the mound this year. A healthy Mikolas would be a welcome addition for the Cardinals, whose rotation has begun 2021 in dreadful fashion. Their starters rank last in the majors with a 6.33 ERA.
- Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte appears ticketed for a trip to the 10-day IL after suffering a strained hamstring Friday, David O’Brien of The Athletic writes. Inciarte would be the second Braves center fielder to hit the IL this week, joining starter Cristian Pache. Behind Inciarte, Guillermo Heredia has the most center field experience of anyone on Atlanta’s roster. Superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. played 100 games there in 2019 and spent the majority of last season there, but the Braves are reluctant to move him out of right field, per O’Brien, who names Phil Ervin and Abraham Almonte as call-up possibilities. Ervin and Almonte aren’t on the Braves’ 40-man roster, which does have an open spot at the moment.
- Nationals left-hander Jon Lester got through a three-inning, 49-pitch sim game on Friday without any issues, Jessica Camerato of MLB.com relays. Manager Dave Martinez believes Lester would be able to toss up to four innings right now, but the Nationals want to stretch him out further before he joins their rotation. There still isn’t a timetable for his 2021 debut, Martinez added. Multiple health issues have hampered Lester since the Nationals signed him to a one-year, $5MM guarantee in free agency. He underwent surgery to remove his thyroid gland at the beginning of March and has been in COVID-19 protocols for most of this month.