Thames was injured at the end of April, tearing a thumb ligament on a dive for a ball on defense. He underwent surgery, did considerable rehabilitation at the Brewers’ Arizona facility, and played in four games with AAA Colorado Springs to complete the recovery. Over 15 plate appearances, Thames slashed .429/.467/.643 with a home run.
Prior to his injury, Thames had 74 plate appearances with Milwaukee, slamming 7 home runs with a slash of .250/.351/.625 and OPS of .976. His seven home runs are still the fourth-most on the team. With a lefty on the mound for Chicago tonight, Thames will be on the bench to start. Perhaps he will contribute a crucial at-bat late in honor of departed Ji-Man Choi.
To make room for the first baseman/outfielder, Milwaukee has returned Brandon Woodruff to the Sky Sox. Woodruff had a good start Sunday in the Brewers’ 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Woody worked four innings and allowed just one unearned run on one hit and one walk, with three strikeouts. Woodruff’s overall ERA in the big leagues fell a full run to 5.01.
How the Brewers utilize Thames along with Jesus Aguilar, Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Domingo Santana, and Christian Yelich (six nominally starting players for four positions) will be interesting. Yelich and Cain play virtually every day, Ryan Braun is now going at a pretty much regular rate, and Aguilar is more or less the Brewers’ best hitter. Santana has been the guy with the short stick recently, and if Thames comes back hot, he could see his role reduced to one or two starts a week (if that) and pinch hitting. Even with a lefty going for the Cubs tonight, Santana is sitting.