Much has been made of the Brewers’ crowded outfield and the potential need to trade someone from that mix, but manager Craig Counsell doesn’t see it that way. Speaking to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, Counsell described a rotation of Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Domingo Santana and Eric Thames between the three outfield spots and first base that could still get everyone from that quintet ample playing time. “If you split it evenly with five guys, that’s 560 [plate appearances] apiece,” Counsell explained, using a rough guideline of about 2800 PAs over the four positions. “With injuries and everything, we’ll find a way. Some guys will get 500, and some will get 600, but it will work out.” Of course, the Brewers also have Keon Broxton and Brett Phillips on hand, though each has minor league options remaining and could be used as a high-quality depth piece (or a trade candidate — either over the next month or later this summer).
Here’s more out of Milwaukee…
- Catcher Stephen Vogt has been diagnosed with a shoulder strain and will miss the next two to three weeks of Spring Training games, per Tom Haudricourt and Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. He’ll also be shut down from throwing for a week. As Haudricourt and Rosiak note, the injury could have significant repercussions for Vogt and could very well impact the Opening Day roster. Vogt’s $3.05MM contract, like the vast majority of arbitration contracts, isn’t fully guaranteed. The Brewers could theoretically cut him and be on the hook only for 30 to 45 days of termination pay between now and Opening Day. Vogt is competing with Jett Bandy to serve as the backup to Manny Pina this season, and Bandy is out of minor league options, meaning he’d be exposed to waivers or traded if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster.
- Also via Haudricourt and Rosiak, Brewers ace Jimmy Nelson is still limited to throwing from flat ground and won’t get onto a mound until after the season starts. The team isn’t giving any sort of firm timeline on when Nelson can be expected to return to the big league club, though the report posits that a return around the All-Star break is plausible for Nelson, who underwent shoulder surgery last September after suffering an injury when diving back into first base.
- Braun got his first work of the spring in at first base and saw plenty of action in today’s game, writes MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “There were runners on base quite a bit, so he was holding runners, getting a feel for that,” said Counsell. “He had a pick in the second inning. He had to get in the cutoff position on a couple of different plays. I would say it was a real positive experience for the first day. Some things to put through his head that he can check off the list as experiences.” As McCalvy points out, the Braun experiment at first base will impact more than just the outfield rotation; Braun seeing more action at first could also have a direct impact on Jesus Aguilar’s role with the club, though it’s not year clear how the Brewers will sort out their considerable depth. Aguilar, like Bandy, is out of minor league options, thus further muddling the scenario.