The Brewers have fought through a pile of injuries to post a 38-30 record, good for a tie with the Cubs for first place in the NL Central. While still far from fully healthy, the Brew Crew are starting to get closer to full strength, as outfielder Derek Fisher was activated off the 10-day injured list today. (Utilityman Tim Lopes was optioned to Triple-A in the corresponding move.) In addition, manager Craig Counsell is “somewhat optimistic” that second baseman Kolten Wong is ready to return from his own trip to the IL.
As Counsell told MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy and other reporters, Wong took part in a pregame workout today. Wong hit the injured list on June 4 due to a left oblique strain, which was the second such injury the former Gold Glover has suffered this year. Wong has been limited to 44 games and 178 plate appearances due to the two IL stints, though given the nature of oblique injuries, it’s at least fortunate that both of his strains have been on the mild side, rather than more severe issues that would require months of recovery time.
Wong has been a tremendous all-around force for the Brewers, hitting .280/.343/.441 in those 178 PA while delivering more strong defense at the keystone. With Wong out, Luis Urias got most of the second base reps, before Travis Shaw’s dislocated shoulder required Urias to see more time at third base. Jace Peterson, Daniel Robertson, and Lopes have also been part of the second base picture.
Shaw is on the 60-day IL and won’t be back until at least mid-August. Urias and Daniel Vogelbach have both been around league-average hitters at third and first base, respectively, and Milwaukee is hopeful that the struggling Keston Hiura can get himself on track and again factor into the first base mix. Still, unless Urias, Vogelbach, and Hiura all really get rolling, the corner infield positions figure to be target areas for the Brewers heading into the trade deadline, FanSided’s Robert Murray writes.
The Brewers have already made one early strike into the trade market, landing Willy Adames and Trevor Richards from the Rays in exchange for righties J.P. Feyereisen and Drew Rasmussen back in May. Adames has been excellent since coming to Milwaukee, filling the shortstop hole in the infield and allowing the Brew Crew with some flexibility in how they deploy Urias. Murray also writes that the Brewers will look to add relief help at the deadline, likely to fill in the depth left by the absences of Feyereisen and Rasmussen.
Fisher could also provide some help, as the outfielder is finally healthy after spending the entire season on the IL. After being acquired in a trade from the Blue Jays in February, Fisher picked up a hamstring injury during Spring Training, and then a calf injury while rehabbing in the minors. Lorenzo Cain and Tyrone Taylor are both on the injured list, so Fisher steps right in as Milwaukee’s primary backup outfielder.