We’ll round up some news from the NL Central.
- Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler sat out yesterday’s intrasquad game with back tightness, manager Mike Shildt told reporters (including Anne Rogers of MLB.com). He won’t take part in today’s Summer Camp work, either. Shildt categorized Fowler’s absence as merely precautionary, calling him day-to-day. Also sidelined today is utilityman Brad Miller, who’s dealing with heel soreness, per Rogers. As with Fowler, the Cards appear simply to be exercising an abundance of caution with Miller.
- Pirates outfielder Sócrates Brito has returned to Summer Camp, tweets Adam Berry of MLB.com. The 27-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19, but fortunately is asymptomatic and has twice tested negative for the virus, per MLB protocols. The out-of-options Brito was once a well-regarded prospect in the Diamondbacks’ system, but he’s not found any MLB success in parts of four seasons. All told, Brito has a career .179/.216/.309 (33 wRC+) line in 218 plate appearances at the game’s highest level. The speedster has been much better in Triple-A, with a .297/.345/.491 slash in over 1500 plate appearances.
- Pirates first-year pitching coach Oscar Marin brings a newfound fluency in pitch data and biomechanics to the position, players tell Berry. As Steve Adams of MLBTR explored in March, the previous coaching staff- predominantly manager Clint Hurdle and pitching coach Ray Searage- advocated a sinker-heavy diet for most players, even if their pitch movement data suggested a north-south, four-seam heavy approach could’ve been more effective. (Steve’s optimism that Chris Archer, in particular, could rebound with such an approach was dashed by the subsequent revelation that Archer would need surgery due to thoracic outlet syndrome, but the general point remains). While the Hurdle-Searage staff wasn’t entirely averse to data, reliever Nick Burdi tells Berry the club is “starting to utilize (analytical information) a bit more,” under Marin and new manager Derek Shelton.